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Huawei, Honor, And OPPO Double Down On Developers And Partners In India

Huawei, its sub-brand Honor, and OPPO have announced new initiatives of engaging with Indian developers using incentives under their global funds to build localized mobile services, as part of Huawei Developer Day and OPPO Developer Conference respectively.

In the past few years, China-based smartphone device makers have continuously tried to attract localized app developers as they view India as one of their key markets. This strategy is more important for Huawei and its sub-brand Honor. Huawei is banned from using Google Mobile Services (GMS) on new phones because of its continued presence on the US Entity List. The company is, therefore, building an alternative to GMS that is known as Huawei Mobile Services (HMS). GMS includes the Google Play Store, Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Drive, and all the other Google apps. Honor is in talks with 150 top apps in India to get them on HMS, according to Charles Peng, CEO, Huawei, and Honor India, Consumer Business Group. According to him, most of the key apps such as navigation, payments, gaming, and messaging will be ready by the end of December 2019.

HMS will effectively act as a replacement of GMS, as Huawei’s long-term strategy is to reduce its reliance on Google. The company is trying to build its own mobile ecosystem, and according to Mr. Peng, consumers won’t see a difference between GMS and HMS, but he did acknowledge that working with developers to offer a good customer experience was a challenge that the company was trying to address. He also stated that Huawei HQ is in touch with China developers. The India developer base will help the company in India as well as in regions like Europe, and the company’s focus is on bringing the top 100-150 apps to customers through HMS in every country.

Huawei has a million registered developers globally for HMS and is offering an incentive of up to $17,000 on the integration of apps with HMS in India through its $1 billion global fund, which was announced earlier this year. The company’s goal is to create an end-to-end business model with developers, content and service providers. These announcements were made at the Huawei Developer Day, which was held on December 18 in New Delhi. The event saw the participation of 150 mobile apps developers from leading organizations, and it showcased the technical capabilities of Huawei’s HMS ecosystem.

Mr. Peng said in a statement that HMS has been growing at an “unprecedented pace” with a user base of 500 million and a developer base of one million worldwide. Huawei introduced the HMS Core kits at the event. These are a collection of software development frameworks that help create a version of the app compatible with Huawei/Honor phones. They include the location kit, map kit, push kit, account kit and others, with the aim of accelerating the app development process at a lower cost. Huawei states that HMS will be available globally with services such as Huawei ID, Mobile Cloud, AppGallery, Themes, and Huawei Assistant.

Huawei also noted that the Huawei Developer Day global program has been conducted in countries such as Poland, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and others. Huawei and Honor are set to conduct more such conferences in different parts of India in 2020.

ET notes that Huawei and Honor’s sales have drastically decreased following the May US trade ban. Even so, Honor is targeting 10% market share in 2020. The lack of Google Mobile Services is a big software issue for Huawei when it comes to selling phones to Indian consumers, and the news of engaging with Indian developers is only a small step to try to solve the problem. While Honor is focusing on expanding its smart devices portfolio, including smart TVs, smart audio devices, and other IoT devices, Huawei is separately focusing on things like smartwatches in India.


Separately, OPPO made its announcements as part of the 2019 OPPO Developer Conference in Beijing on December 19. The company is allocating $143 million in 2020 for supporting global developers, including India. The aim is to develop a new intelligent service ecosystem with developers and partners on the ColorOS operating system (ColorOS is OPPO’s custom user interface on top of Android). The three new initiatives announced at the conference include the enhanced developer support program “Gravity Plan 2.0”, for which OPPO will allocate RMB 1 billion (USD $143 million) in 2020, the “Five System-level Capability Exposure Engines” and the “IoT Enablement Plan”.

OPPO has placed a lot of importance on India as a key market. In a statement, the company said that it aims to reach out to the large talent pool of innovators, developers, and partners in the country. OPPO India Vice President R&D Tasleem Arif recently told ET that the company is closely looking for start-ups to incubate and develop services and applications that OPPO could integrate with ColorOS 7. Mr. Arif said that there are a few startups that the company has shortlisted, in the belief that integrating them in its own platform will lead to a better user experience.

OPPO says that ColorOS has 320 million monthly active users globally. More than 120,000 developers have joined the OPPO open platform to date, where its open capability service has been used more than three billion times per day. At last year’s Developer Conference, the company launched the “Gravity Plan”, which was a RMB 1 billion program to support outstanding developers worldwide. The plan has provided resources for more than 2,000 applications since then, resulting in 9.2 billion impressions and more than 180 million downloads.

ColorOS is now available in 140 countries and regions around the world. The Gravity Plan 2.0 will build on last year’s plan to provide “sustained and all-round support to partners in the four major fields of applications, services, content, and global development,” according to Henry Duan, Vice President, Internet Services, OPPO.

The company also launched the “Five System-level Capability Exposure Engines” to enable developers to connect to OPPO’s system-level capability more smoothly for a better user experience. These include Hyper Boost, Link Boost, CameraUnit, MediaUnit, and ARUnit capabilities.

OPPO also announced that it will soon debut its first smartwatch, the OPPO Watch, as well as a health platform. It will invest RMB 50 billion ($7 million) into R&D spending in the next three years to develop core technologies in hardware, software, and system in addition to 5G, AI, AR, big data and other frontier technologies. The rest of the company’s announcements (which include IoT-related announcements) at the OPPO Innovation Day can be read here. The company says that it has been more than just a phone maker from the beginning.―XDA Developers

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