Huawei has announced plans to pre-install its own Harmony OS on its smartphones from next year.

The Chinese company said it might also offer the software to other manufacturers to use as an alternative to Android. Huawei is currently the world’s second bestselling handset-maker, after enjoying a short span in the top spot. But others have tried and unable to challenge Google and Apple’s dominance. Google’s Android accounted for 85.4% of smartphones shipped last year, as per research company IDC, and Apple’s iOS the remaining 14.6%.

And those figures reflect the very fact Samsung’s Tizen, Amazon’s FireOS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, and Canonical’s Ubuntu have all unable to make headway on handsets. Huawei’s move has been prompted by the very fact it can not offer Google’s apps and services on its latest devices, due to a US trade ban – although the restriction doesn’t prevent it from offering Android itself.

Within China – where consumers don’t use the Google Play store and lots of Google’s services are blocked – this limitation has not caused Huawei problems. But in other countries, demand for its most up-to-date phones has been weak because Google’s tools are popular. One expert said the fate of the new OS might depend upon what extent other technology companies Huawei convinced to return on board.

“This move will be supported by the Chinese government because it fits into its wider Made In China 2025 strategy,” Marta Pinto, from IDC, said.

But it’ll only be launched elsewhere if other Chinese vendors, like Xiaomi and Oppo, adopt it.

“Even then, it’ll still be a challenge in geographies like Western Europe and Latin America, where numerous people and businesses depend on Google’s products.”

Huawei announced its plan at the beginning of a three-day developer conference near Shenzhen. The original version of Harmony OS was unveiled a year ago, when it had been pitched to be used in smartwatches, TVs, and other smart home gadgets. But the organization now intends to release a fresh version – Harmony OS 2.0 – which will be tested on handsets from December, before the official launch in October 2021.

In parallel, it’ll shortly release EMUI 11 – a version of its mobile interface supported Android 11. After October, a number of its smartphone models are going to be offered with Harmony OS. But it’ll still offer EMUI as an alternate.