Can Samsung/Huawei really survive without Android?

Samsung is announcing its Tizen powered smartphones in India right now at an event as I sit here typing this out.

Apparently, Samsung is looking into how it can make its future phones run and sell without Google’s Android OS. The company wants to place its own Tizen OS front and centre, according to reports, as this would give it more control over its hardware and software and this, in turn, at least in theory, would mean more money for Samsung.

And this is really what it’s all about: MONEY. This is what everything is about in the end.

Samsung is currently reliant and, therefore, in servitude to Google for use of its Android platform. By proxy, Samsung is generating huge amounts of revenue for Google through downloaded content on its phones, adverts and, of course, Google services like Google Now, Maps and everything else in between.

Samsung basically wants to be more like Apple, controlling everything that goes on inside its ecosystem.

But it isn’t just Samsung that has designs on freeing itself from Android. Huawei does too — and it’s using ex-Nokia developers in Finland to realize this goal. According to reports, Huawei wants to create its own model platform, one that can rival iOS and Android, and, if it happens, Tizen, but given Huawei’s presence in the mobile space and brand appeal is it likely it can take down Android?

Related : Samsung’s importance in keeping Android together but not the same.

I’d argue, NO. The company’s current software on show inside its Android phones is utterly appalling. The handsets themselves are fantastic and that makes this a shame. I’d love to see Huawei improve its custom Android skin by stripping it down and removing the MASSES of bloatware it includes inside it. Its a problem with not just Huawei but every single one of the Chinese OEMs so much so that when I think OnePlus its hard to imagine it is Chinese too.

Fortunately, this looks as if it will change. The Information, the source of this news, says Huawei is in the process of hiring Apple designers to completely reimagine its EMUI Android skin. This needs to happen as well, even more so as Huawei grows its presence in the coming western mobile space.

Huawei certainly has the financial capabilities and resources to undertake something like this — that goes without saying. The company is a massive innovator inside the technology space and is constantly pushing and innovating in the wireless and LTE space.

These moves by Samsung and Huawei, apparently, come after word got out about Google’s reportedly working on a proprietary binary Android, which would give The Big G even more control over the world’s biggest mobile platform.

But the way I see it there are a bunch of problems stopping both firms from doing this, which are as follows:

Android is Tried and Tested

This is perhaps the biggest. Android is a tried and tested platform and now fairly mature. It has a great ecosystem and is used by millions of people all over the globe. People know and are used to Google services and understand their way around Android’s settings and features. Tizen or a new OS from Huawei is kind of an unknown entity in comparison. Android is pretty much the only viable alternative right now for anyone seeking to avoid iOS. One could argue that years ago when android first launched, it was a piece of crap too. But then one has to keep in mind that back then, Android literally had no competitor.  iOS? It was the shiny perfect OS of the rich and classy who would pay top dollar for a phone. Android was competing as a huge upgrade over feature phones, and that’show it started climbing the ladders over the years to become the biggest OS on the planet. Tizen and whatever Huawei brings, will be facing such competition from Android alone in every possible price segment and device from TVs to smartphones. Then there is iOS and another OS with a small cult following we hugely ignore. Windows.


We all know Samsung’s and Huawei’s love of bloatware. How would these platforms function without Google Play? Samsung and Huawei would need to convince developers to create content for their respective platforms and we ALL know how hard that is to do — just look at BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone, Windows 10 Mobile, amongst MANY others that have fallen by the wayside or faded into obscurity, almost always from a lack of apps.

Samsung and Huawei sell a lot of phones, but compared to overall Android phone sales for all manufacturers it wouldn’t be worth a developer’s time to specifically target these new platforms. You CAN run Android applications on Tizen, but the integration isn’t exactly slick and this would be a problem for many, I feel.

The argument for Samsung and Huawei doing this appears to be as follows: most people wouldn’t know the difference as Samsung already skins the crap out of Android. Ditto for Huawei. This is a good point. But I think the same people would miss having access to Google services and I don’t see Google giving Samsung and Huawei any help in this regard.

Tizen isn’t the first time Samsung has attempted to create its own mobile platform. Many of you will likely remember Bada, which launched quite a few years back now, and has now, well, more or less disappeared from the scene altogether. Tizen is a more focussed effort, however, and it was undertaken with support from Intel — another firm keen to break into the mobile space.

Tizen is open-source, like Android, and is based on HTML5 which is good news for developers since this type of platform allows for shorter development cycles. This means increased parity with the web and lower costs associated with app development. Still, it is worth noting Firefox tried this route to market with Firefox OS and that, like Bada, tanked after a couple of years.

Less is known about Huawei’s plans at present but more information should become available soon.

Still. Big plans are afoot for Tizen. Samsung says this isn’t just a mobile platform; rather, it is one unified platform for ALL Samsung devices and, because it is open source, Samsung can also “do a Google” and license it out to hardware partners and make a crust on the embedded services included inside it.

Again, though: big dreams are fine but the reality of such things is often not quite as rosy as the theoretical bare bones of an ideal might lead you to believe. Microsoft is struggling with its mobile strategy and its been working on this since 2007. Windows 10 is a great platform, but it hasn’t really altered Microsoft’s clout in the mobile space one bit.

Whatever you’re thoughts on Apple and Google, the mobile space, as of right now and likely for the next five years, is very much a two horse race — and there are no prices for third place. I get the logic behind this but I worry that it is driven by a desire for more control and more money. I don’t see how such a move would benefit Samsung’s millions of loyal users?

Inside Android, Samsung is likely Google’s biggest influencer. As i’ve previously written, Samsung sells more phones than anyone else in the space and therefore creates A LOT of revenue for Google through services, downloads and things like Google Play Movies. The relationship between Samsung and Google is a symbiotic relationship but one that is more essential for Samsung than it is for Google.

Google would view a move like this as an offensive against Android and would act accordingly — i.e. shut out Samsung completely.

Details are pretty scant about this idea at present, but sources from inside Korea claim it is something Samsung is keen on doing at some point in the future. There are no exact dates or time frames but one thing is certain: however Samsung does this it has A LOT of work ahead of it.

One does not simply drop Android!

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