As far as Huawei is concerned, now is the worst and best time. A few days ago, the prologue of the 2020 Huawei Developer Conference was written “NO STOP, NO PAUSE, PLAY TOGETHER” (no stop, no pause, work together).This seems to indicate that the global mobile OS is about to usher in the third pole after iOS and Android. What is Hongmeng’s chance of winning? Can it gain a foothold in the global application ecosystem? Below we try to deduce the overall situation of the “Three Kingdoms” of Hongmeng, Android, and iOS.
In fact, the situation may not be as bad as we thought.
01 Hongmeng Open Source Ecological Arrow
In recent years, Huawei, which has become the world’s top three mobile phone manufacturers, has always been one of the strongest players in the Android ecosystem.
On May 19, 2019, Google publicly announced that it would comply with Trump’s Huawei ban. This means that Huawei will no longer be able to use the basic functions of Android smartphones, such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Cloud Storage, and even the Google Play application store itself will not appear in Huawei’s new phones.
Immediately, Jeremy Thompson, Executive Vice President of Huawei UK, responded to the media, “We have an alternative that is being developed in parallel. Huawei would rather work with Android, but if it doesn’t happen in the future, we have an alternative that will enable Our customers are satisfied”.
Three months later, at the 2019 Huawei Developer Conference, Harmony OS was released.
In 2019, Harmony OS released the source/network
In the past year, Huawei executives have shown good to the outside world more than once, “We will give priority to using Google services and Android systems” and “Hongmeng operating system is only Plan B.”
However, Google’s attitude did not relax at all. On September 10, 2020, at the 2020 Huawei Developers Conference, Huawei’s consumer business president Yu Chengdong announced the news of Harmony OS 2.0 open source.
At this point, Huawei’s ecological arrow has been on the line.
It is worth intriguing that Huawei has both the characteristics and advantages of Apple and Google. Like Apple, Huawei is the world’s top mobile phone manufacturer, and has a super and huge own product line; on the other hand, Huawei’s Hongmeng system will be compatible with all Android applications, which is a broad ecosystem that Apple lacks.
Looking at the global application ecosystem market, Hongmeng may have more opportunities.
02 Technology is not difficult and difficult is ecology
“The technical difficulty of making an operating system is not great, but the most difficult thing is the ecology.” Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei once said to the outside that the technical difficulty of Hongmeng OS is not the key, and the ecology is the biggest challenge.
According to data from Statcounter, a global website traffic monitoring agency, as of the end of 2019, the world’s five major operating systems are: Android 39%, Windows 35%, iOS 13.87%, macOS 5.92%, and Linux 0.77%.
Counterpoint Research, a third-party consulting agency, reported that Hongmeng operating system is expected to surpass Linux by the end of 2020, rushing to the top five in the world.
Previously, some institutions predicted that by the end of 2020, Hongmeng OS’s market share in China is expected to reach 5%, and the global market share will hit 2%.
Regardless of whether the above goals can be achieved, the primary goal of Hongmeng OS is still the mobile ecology. In this regard, Apple and Google are the main competitors. Statcounter data shows that in the mobile operating system, Google Android system accounted for about 75%, Apple iOS accounted for 23%, Hongmeng’s first step is to seize share in this “two worlds”.
Wang Chenglu, President of Huawei’s Consumer Business Software Department, told the installed capacity of Hongmeng OS, “It’s not an exaggeration to have hundreds of millions of devices in a year or so.” The internal goal of the Hongmeng team is to make Huawei equipped with Hongmeng OS The installed capacity of its own equipment exceeds 100 million, and the installed capacity of third-party non-Huawei equipment equipped with Hongmeng has also exceeded 100 million. Flowering both inside and outside.
“The current development stage of Hongmeng is similar to Google’s AOSP (Android Open Source Project).” An industry insider explained that the official Android native system installed on many Android phones integrates Google services, while AOSP does not, and can be used by developers. Compile and use.
Huawei Consumer Business CEO Yu Chengdong said that Hongmeng OS is open source, which means that the code is free for developers to modify and use, and is designed to be “separated” from the hardware, so developers only need to design once, and the software UI can span multiple Device deployment.
Hongmeng OS is based on Linux, which is the same open source platform as Android, which means that Hongmeng and Android can share compatibility with each other. “Theoretically, any Android application can run in Hongmeng OS.” The above-mentioned industry insider said.
At some point in the future, “Hongmeng OS” will become “Huawei OS”, which can almost support Huawei’s full line of consumer products, which will make Huawei’s ecology a foothold in the world, and the worst result will be just like Apple’s iOS. Only use in-house products.
03 Blue out of blue
Currently, Huawei Hongmeng OS is in the first phase of the open source version, which only supports 128MB or less, which can achieve fast compilation and system operation. According to the plan, in April 2021, Huawei’s source code will be oriented to terminal devices with 128MB-4GB of memory; in October 2021, it will be oriented to devices with more than 4GB.
According to Caijing, Huawei currently has more than 1,000 developers engaged in Hongmeng R&D. With the addition of the Ark Compiler, EMUI, HMS and other ecosystems, a total of about 8,000 R&D engineers are working around the clock.
Wang Chenglu revealed that in the past five years or so, the Huawei software team has basically replaced the core parts of the Android system. “To be honest, we have moved it from the underlying driver to the hardware abstraction layer to the programming on Huawei. The framework, etc… we changed everything that could be changed.”
The upgrade of distributed capabilities is a technical focus that Huawei emphasized at the Developer Conference, which mainly includes three major aspects-distributed soft bus, distributed data management, and distributed security. Among them, the distributed soft bus is the base of the whole technology of Hongmeng OS system.
Distributed soft bus graph source/network
In the past few years, Huawei has made a lot of accumulation in soft bus engineering. The reason why a set of code can meet the requirements of multiple large and small systems is that the core of Hongmeng system is the world’s first large-scale software fully decoupled, horizontal and vertical Can be unlocked. The performance of Hongmeng System 2.0 distributed soft bus has infinitely approached the capacity of hard bus, which is mainly manifested in the improvement of delay and fully integrated adaptive capability.
In a sense, the new Hongmeng OS also has newer design ideas and a super-connected ecological model for the Internet of Everything compared with Android. If after several years of Huawei products and ecological practices, Hongmeng OS is fully capable of technically competing with or even surpassing Android and iOS.
04 It must be easier than building an atomic bomb
In the “Songshan Lake Dialogue” after the 2020 Huawei Developer Conference, someone asked: “How does Hongmeng get through the’ecological barrier’?” Wang Huiwen, co-founder and senior vice president of Meituan Dianping, said with a smile: “Being ecological The difficulty is comparable to building an atomic bomb.”
Is it really that hard? We might as well try to reverse Huawei’s ecological battle from the perspective of Google and Apple.
Hongmeng OS has the same origin with Android, so Hongmeng OS will have the opportunity to directly compete with Android. This is all forced by Google. In fact, Google’s attack on Huawei is “insecure” and quite passive.
Although Android’s mobile market share is the same as Google search, it is based on the opening of Android to all smartphone manufacturers except iPhone. In this regard, Hongmeng OS is the same as Android. Hongmeng even has a better user experience in smart home appliances and wearable products.
Hongmeng OS can completely replace Android. The only moat of Android is the “Google Family Bucket” (Google Mobile Service GMS).
GMS currently provides Search (search), Search by Voice (voice search), Gmail (mailbox), Contact Sync (address book synchronization), Calendar Sync (calendar synchronization), Talk (instant messaging), Maps (map), Street View (Street View), YouTube (video), Play store (application store) and other apk application packages and services.
For consumers around the world, if they use Hongmeng OS in the future, compared with Android, the most direct experience difference may come from the inability to use the above applications. Among them, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, etc. are Google’s most sticky and most difficult to replace applications, while Google search, instant messaging, address book synchronization and other applications have alternatives, and it is difficult to become the main concern of consumers.
The number of Huawei’s ecological supporters is growing rapidly. The latest data shows that 1.8 million developers worldwide are supporting Huawei’s Google service alternative products. Huawei reported that there were 910,000 global developers in the same period last year, a substantial increase of nearly 100%.
Developers’ support has naturally led to a significant increase in the number of applications available in the App Gallery of Huawei’s App Store, with most of the basic applications required by users, such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, JustEat, Amazon and TikTok.
Huawei said that more than 80,000 applications have been specifically targeted at overseas users who use Huawei’s mobile API, and this number has increased by 26,000 since February. According to reports, Huawei has approximately 70 million application market users in Europe.
05 How much do consumers around the world love YouTube?
Next, we will focus on the three core Google GMS applications, YouTube, Gmail, and Maps, to see if global consumers are unable to use the above-mentioned applications, is it possible to choose Hongmeng OS?
YouTube is the world’s number one video application. According to a report by Sandvine, users consume more traffic on YouTube than any other application. YouTube accounts for a staggering 37% of all mobile Internet traffic, far exceeding the ranking. Second, Facebook’s 8.4% and Snapchat’s 8.3%.
However, this does not mean that YouTube is irreplaceable in the hearts of global users. According to an earlier statistics, among American millennial audiences, TV consumption time still occupies an absolute advantage, accounting for 86% of the total video consumption time, while YouTube is only 14%. According to data from the US Video Advertising Bureau, monthly TV program viewing is on average 50% higher than that of YouTube channels. (The TV audience for each episode is 6 times that of a YouTube video)
In more traditional Europe, the advantages of TV are more obvious. TV accounts for more than 3/4 of video consumption time in the UK, while YouTube only accounts for 4.4%.
Another important point that cannot be ignored is that Netflix has become a strong opponent and perfect substitute for YouTube. According to data released by Roy Morgan Research under the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 2018, Netflix’s market share in European English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom reached 83%; European non-English-speaking countries such as Sweden and Finland also reached 76%. It can be said that the European online video market has been completely taken over by Netflix.
In Asia, Netflix also maintains an absolute lead over YouTube. In a survey conducted by the foreign media FinanceAsia on 13 regions in Asia, Netflix is the most popular streaming media application in 8 regions, including India, Indonesia, and Australia. A 2017 survey data shows that Netflix has a 32.92% share of the Asian streaming media market, while YouTube has only 14.77%, less than half of the former.
Netflix has surpassed YouTube in the Asian streaming market share
Gmail’s dominance in the mail market seems to be slightly stronger than YouTube. A 2018 data shows that Gmail has a 26% share of the global mail market, making it the largest mail service provider. In fact, similar to Google search, it is not difficult for Hongmeng OS to allow its users to use Gmail mailboxes through the “curve to save the country”, thereby ensuring the experience of Gmail users when using Hongmeng OS.
Gmail’s share of the global mail market is 26%. Source/Network
In fact, as early as March this year, Huawei quietly tested AppSearch in Germany. At present, the search function of this application has been integrated in “Petal Search”, aiming to integrate Android applications and planning, such as searching for “Instagram” or “Facebook”. For applications like this, the search results will have installation options.
Google Maps seems to be one of the most popular applications in the Google family besides search. According to a survey of more than 300 US mobile phone users in 2018 by the business news agency The Manifest, Google Maps has a market share of 67%, followed by Apple Maps with 11% and MapQuest with 8%.
Google Maps has a market share of 67%. Source/Network
Data from multiple market institutions show that Google Maps’ global market strategy rate is about 70%. Even if consumers have other choices besides Google Maps, the preferred location of Google Maps is difficult to shake.
As the “Economist” report said, Google Maps has mastered the technology and enjoys the network effect, can resist those slower competitors, Google Maps can avoid major confrontations and eliminate potential competitors.
Google’s strong ecological barriers have also aroused the concerns of some European and American users. “As far as our dependence on Google is concerned, it may not be in our best interest to rely on them to satisfy the entire digital life.” A European and American mobile phone user said: “ I am not against Google. I suggest that everyone start taking stock of digital lives. Shop around, keep an open mind to change, and consider new favorites instead of putting all your eggs in one basket.”
06 Developers suffer from “Apple tax” for a long time
Compared with Android, Hongmeng OS and iOS compete in different ways and key points. The advantage of Hongmeng OS is that its fully open model is more attractive to application developers who have been suffering from the “Apple tax” for a long time. In recent years, the relationship between Apple and the application ecosystem has been quite bad.
Apple’s remaining moat is the iPhone, but in recent years, the lack of iPhone innovation has long been recognized by the industry. Apple has even become the latest brand among the world’s top ten mobile phone manufacturers to release 5G mobile phones. Apple currently relies on price cuts to stimulate sales and controls iPhone Costs to maintain company profits, but this is tantamount to “drinking poison to quench thirst.”
On August 13 this year, Epic Games, the development company of the famous game “Fortnite” (Fortnite), became the latest app developer to rise up.
Epic Games updated “Fortress Night” source/network
On the same day, Epic Games updated the iOS and Android mobile game clients of “Fortnite” and launched a strong promotion. Epic Games boldly added a direct payment method to Epic Games. Players Top-up purchase of Battle Pass (premium member) price from 9.99 USD to 7.99 USD. Epic Games did not shy away from explaining the reason for the price difference: Apple will charge a 30% fee when paying in-app, which is what we often call “Apple tax.”
“Your equipment is not dominated by some omnipotent company.” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney believes that Apple has over-expanded. Essentially, all users should install software freely, and all developers should follow their own rules. Willing to create and share applications.
Tim Sweeney pointedly pointed out that Apple is becoming the all-around company he once hated the most. In the famous “1984” advertisement produced by Apple, Apple once faced the then “all-around company” IBM as a challenger, and now Apple “To act as an intermediary between creators and users, and to use this position to exercise control and squeeze money, which violates the rights of consumers and developers.”
07 Complain about Facebook
Another recent major move by Apple has also brought the relationship between Apple and a large number of App developers such as Social to a freezing point.
Apple modified the version in iOS14, requiring all app developers to ask users through a prompt: Do you want to share your IDFA (advertiser identifier)? In doing so, Apple is tantamount to erecting a fence between advertising and iPhone users.
This upgrade of iOS14 is very bad for Internet advertising service providers led by Facebook. Morgan Stanley said that this will hurt the entire industry’s advertising revenue growth. Facebook admitted in its recent earnings conference call that this modification of iOS will have a great impact on it, and issued a warning that the move may end the provision of advertising services for developers in non-Facebook applications.
Undoubtedly, this time Apple and Facebook have formed a bridge.
Moreover, there will be more Facebook in the future. After Apple’s market value stands at 2 trillion, in order to maintain the stock price, Apple is likely to cause more friction and even lawsuits. Apple’s consistent desire to control the industrial chain and ecological chain will face more challenges, and Apple’s absolute dominance in the mobile terminal industry chain has begun to shake.
“Huawei mobile phone + Hongmeng OS” will be fully capable of challenging the “iPhone+iOS” combination. Isn’t this just the ultimate goal of Yu Chengdong?
08 Hongmeng Chenghua’s maximum pressure point
Many people believe that fighting Android and iOS from scratch is an impossible task. However, Huawei’s own ecological scale is already so large, and Huawei also has a great influence in the Chinese market.
Don’t forget that Hongmeng OS is based on Linux, so it is also an open source operating system, which means that Hongmeng OS can completely replace Android.
China’s smart phone and smart manufacturing industry chain is second to none in the world. If Chinese smart phone companies and digital device manufacturers start to try to use the system, Hongmeng OS will have a huge impact on the entire mobile ecosystem.
“Hongmeng OS” is not only a “Huawei OS”, but also not only a “Chinese OS”, but it will go global, attracting global ecological partners to enter another incremental market and obtain new opportunities.
Google opened the Pandora’s Box on its own, and could no longer close it. No one should underestimate the power of 1.4 billion Chinese citizens to support local brands.
The “Huawei Basic Law” has such a description: “We adhere to the principle of pressure, in terms of key success factors and selected strategic points, we allocate resources with a strength that exceeds that of our main competitors, or we do not do it, we will greatly concentrate manpower, Material and financial resources to achieve key breakthroughs.”
In the next few years, Hongmeng OS will become Huawei’s biggest pressure point in the software ecosystem. Android and iOS will inevitably feel a huge impact, and Huawei will lay a solid foundation deep into the earth’s crust in the digital terminal ecosystem.
Author/IT Times reporter Wang Xin