Huawei developed a ‘plan B’ operating system for smartphones in case it was banned by the US government from using Google products. Here’s what we know about it so far. (GOOG, GOOGL)

Dr. Wang Chenglu, president of Huawei’s Consumer Business Software Engineering, told Chinese media in September 2018 that while developing an operating system itself wasn’t difficult, it’s the ecosystem and app support that would be the biggest roadblock for a Huawei-made mobile operating system.

Mobile platforms absolutely need a healthy ecosystem, especially when it comes to apps. Lack of app support will almost certainly foretell the death of any newcomer to mobile platforms. It was always the biggest problem with Microsoft’s Windows mobile platform.

For Microsoft, it was an ever-ending cycle of doom: Windows phones had the lowest market share, so app developers didn’t want to spend the time and money to develop apps for Windows phones. And since popular apps were slow to become available on the Windows mobile platform — if at all — Windows Phone had significant issues gaining any market share.

Samsung also tried its hand in 2015 at offering phones that ran on the company’s own homegrown operating system, called Tizen. Needless to say, Samsung Tizen phones aren’t exactly popular. In a Samsung Tizen phone review, Ars Technica wrote “We weren’t impressed. It felt like a hollow copy of Android without any apps.” And that’s exactly what a Huawei operating system will likely feel like, too.

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