Even though Huawei is reportedly working on its own mobile OS, the company might be looking elsewhere for its Android alternative. That something else is allegedly a Russian-made fork of Sailfish OS, reported The Bell on Monday.
Huawei CEO Guo Ping reportedly discussed the possibility of using Sailfish OS on Huawei devices with Konstantin Noskov, the minister of digital development, communications, and mass media of Russia. Based on the alleged conversation, Huawei is already testing devices with the pre-installed Aurora OS.
Ping also reportedly discussed the possibility of partially moving production to Russia. The joint production would be of chips and devices.
Huawei and Russia-run digital services provider Rostelcom declined to comment on the discussions, though the latter said it’s open to working with developers of mobile solutions. Supposedly tying the two companies together is Grigory Berezkin, a Rostelcom and Russian businessman who owns the developer behind Aurora OS.
What is Sailfish OS and what does it mean for Huawei?
Registering as a blip in the face of Android and iOS, Sailfish OS is a Linux distribution developed by the folks behind Nokia’s doomed MeeGo OS. Sailfish OS is pre-installed on four devices, but can be installed on the Sony Xperia X, XA2, XA2 Plus, and XA2 Ultra.
What helps make Sailfish OS alluring to users is its open-source nature. Anyone can get the source code and play around with the software as they see fit. That somewhat runs counter to Android, which is also open-source but has software running on top of it that isn’t.
Other draws include Android app compatibility, a gesture-based navigation system, shortcuts to reveal certain UI elements, and multi-tasking reminiscent of what you’ll see today on Android and iOS.
However, the main attraction is Sailfish OS’ focus on privacy. Jolla only collects information needed to run its services and doesn’t sell your data to third parties without your consent. Also, Jolla doesn’t collect any data without your consent.
This would be a smart move on Huawei’s part if it went with Sailfish OS. The company wouldn’t need to throw nearly as many resources into developing and promotion a new mobile OS, a Herculean task by any stretch of the imagination. There’s still the problem of having to sideload Android apps, but Huawei could create a Sailfish OS-compatible app store.