Huawei prepares to ditch Android
In Q4 of last year, Huawei acquired Abigail Brody, Apples creative director in UI design. She is now VP and Chief UX Designer (User Experience), tasked with making the Huawei user interface less Appliciously flat, and more in tune with the card card-centric philosophy of UI, like in Googles material design. Brody is reportedly planning to change these for brighter tones including blues and whites, and is looking to animals like jellyfish for inspiration.
The data presentation of EMUI Dialer, Caller and Recent calls Panels
The EMUI settings panel
Huawei will ditch Android and develop its own mobile operating system
The effort is based in Scandinavia and “includes ex-Nokia employees.” Huawei’s recently-hired ex-Apple mobile UI design lead Abigail Brody didn’t comment on the project in an interview with The Information, but she did acknowledge its existence saying that she plans to meet the team in August of this year.
The move is a “contingency measure” for the moment, meaning that Huawei still has every intention of building its EMUI atop Android for the foreseeable future. It makes sense. As Google plans to become “more opinionated” about its Nexus phones and expresses concern over OEMs’ ability to update software in a timely manner, it’s clear the Mountain View company wants to tighten its grip.
Master of the obvious
Huawei’s decision to pursue a project like this came as a surprise, as I always thought it would be Samsung to jump first and champion a Tizen movement. Samsung currently deploys the open-source, linux based Tizen in Russia and India. Considering Samsung, (outside of Google) is the only OEM who really makes any money, it is not difficult to be cognizant that everyone who isn’t Samsung, needs to find a way to bridge the gap of uncertainty that Android based OEM’s inherit as Google shifts priority from market share, to damage control operations in update and patch security.
Google is also taking a proactive posture in exploit mitigation, as their hack-for-cash program increases the pay-out for hackers disclosing exploits and methodology for cash money. Programs that place Google as a proponent of preventive measures before a software release, shows they have an idea of what a comprehensive mobile security strategy is supposed to look like. This is important. For a few reasons.
As the reports of malware, ransom-ware, theft identity and exploits concerning the private information of users continue to flood the tech and business sections of news, the US government wants to know what causes – or better yet – what is not in place in the mobile space that can prevent it from happening, and what can be done about the vulnerability once it is discovered.
When the FTC is done with their investigation, and they have their ‘data’ from Apple, Inc.; Blackberry Corp.; Google, Inc.; HTC America, Inc.; LG Electronics USA, Inc.; Microsoft Corp.; Motorola Mobility, LLC; and Samsung Electronics America, Inc., one of the things they will be looking at is:
The factors that they (The OEM) consider in deciding whether to patch a vulnerability on a particular mobile device.
Google will need to address the UI WebView exploit they just decided not to patch because it was too difficult and time-consuming. We will finally find out what it is that makes Android security patches so random…when it comes to which devices will come first and when. Normally, one would think that if you are responsible to millions of users who bought your product, and that product is found to have a defect in security, you would place effort on those who are affected most and the demographic most affected.
That is not the case when it comes to Android updates. Nexus owners (the Android fragment with the fewest users) usually come first. Current Nexus owners. Google has now put an end-of-life date on Nexus Devices as well, letting owners know their update guarantee is about to end.
Perhaps Huawei, who was not included in the FTC request, can see something we don’t.