That’s the latest from Chinese vendors Vivo and OPPO, who’ve tested the new Android alternative. Presumably, both vendors intend to use Huawei’s “Hongmeng OS” in some of their upcoming devices.
Now, the statement that Hongmeng is “60% faster” than Android can be chalked up to marketing in some sense. The reason pertains to the fact that few know what this means other than the speed of the mobile operating system could leave Android in the dust.
To be honest, though, what does this look like? Are apps opening faster in Hongmeng than they would in Android? Is the task manager performing better in Hongmeng than Android? Do apps remain longer in the task manager without refreshing in Hongmeng than Android?
Does Hongmeng reboot faster than Android? How is the speed here reflected in the performance? OPPO and Vivo may be testing Huawei’s new OS, but we don’t know the specifics of that testing. The number 60% is just a number until more details pour in concerning exactly how Hongmeng is superior to Android.
But there’s a clue regarding the hype surrounding the statistic “60% faster”: that is, that Hongmeng is being prepared to ship on Huawei handsets this October, with only entry-level and mid-range handsets getting the new OS installed.
Tianfeng International analyst Guo Mingxi says that Huawei’s Hongmeng OS (dubbed ARK OS in its trademark filings outside China, or OAK OS) isn’t ready for the needs of high-end smartphone users. Huawei will place the new OS on its more budget-friendly handsets first, then bring it to the high-end Mate series when the time is right.
What emerges from the evidence, then, is that Huawei’s Hongmeng OS is nothing more than an entry-level OS at this point. Since Hongmeng will work for entry-level and mid-range devices alone, it can be surmised that perhaps Hongmeng doesn’t have a lot of applications to work with — which may explain why it’s faster than Android.
It’s not hard to conceive that Android Open Source Project (AOSP), barebones Android open to every vendor, is faster than Google’s Android, though Google’s Android offers an experience that makes AOSP barebones and skeletal by comparison. AOSP may be faster, but its barebones nature isn’t all that appealing.
On another note, analysts have been concerned about Huawei’s profit and sales in Q4 2019 this year. Mingxi says that it’s possible that Huawei may still sell 215-225 million smartphones by year’s end, a positive forecast in the midst of all the political and technical uncertainty the Chinese OEM faces these days.
“Hongmeng,” as Huawei’s OS is dubbed in China, means “primordial world.” It refers to the beginning ingredients of existence, in this case, for Huawei’s new mobile operating system. At this point, Huawei is only placing it on lower-tier smartphones, though the company will have no choice but to bring it to high-end smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and even laptops at some point in the future.
Though Huawei is having to bring Hongmeng OS to market as a tool of survival (it planned the OS seven years ago for the same reason), it isn’t a bad thing that Android vendors have mobile operating systems of their own in the works. The key to surviving in the mobile space is to become self-sufficient. Any OEM relying solely on Android for profit is leaning on one proverbial leg that could break at any minute.
Aside from the need to survive, Android isn’t a perfect OS, for all the good that can be said about it. Android has a battery problem, which explains Google’s continued efforts to pour over battery performance. Sure, battery life can always get better (it will never be perfect), but Google constantly obsesses over it.
For example, after implementing battery-saving measures in the last few major system updates, the Android owner has now turned to Dark Mode as a way to save on battery life and intends to implement a systemwide Dark Mode in Android 10.0 Q, to arrive this Fall.
The existence of Fuchsia is also a problem for Google, for, if Android was sufficient, why have a “backup” OS in the first place? Whatever Google has in mind for the future, Android isn’t good enough, and Fuchsia is ideal.
As for Huawei, the Chinese vendor is not only experimenting with its own Hongmeng OS but is also considering the use of Aurora OS for Russian customers. Aurora is a forked version of Jolla’s Sailfish OS that is said to be not only Android-compatible but also more secure than Android as it is designed for corporations and governments.
While Huawei will only use Hongmeng on low-tier handsets for now, it may be considering Sailfish for higher-end devices. Recently, Huawei has been sending out emails to Google Play developers requesting that they develop apps for its AppGallery app store.