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Huawei details everything-connected roadmap

Posted: 25 May 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smartwatch? LiteOS? round table? wearables? smart home?

China's Internet companies Tencent, Alibaba and Xiaomi are taking on the local consumer electronics market using online strategies, putting telecom giant Huawei in a bind!will it follow suit or will it stand on its own?

In a one-on-one interview with EE Times in Shenzhen, Shao Yang, president of Huawei's consumer business group, responsible for strategy marketing, had a different alliance in mind: "Google is a good place to start."

For most Chinese high-tech companies, whether it's a wearable start-up, smartphone vendor or Internet giant, the whole of China is their whole oyster. Not so for Huawei.

Shao Yang

Yang: Google is a good place to start.

Taking a distinctly global view, Yang said Huawei is readying Phase II of its mobile strategy, under which everything is getting connected, with or without smartphone.

Tight and exclusive

Huawei hopes to create several tightly knit industry groups!for the smart home, for smart vehicles, wearables and others. Its members: leading vendors with expertise in each circle.

"Round tables" as Yang likes to describe them are built on trust and expertise, he stressed. The groups are designed to be exclusive. "Not everyone can join," he noted. "And the number of the companies is limited."

Each member will make substantial technology contributions to "get everything connected" and build pipes necessary for "big data," he explained.

Asked who will belong to those round tables, Yang said without missing a beat: "Google is a good place to start."

Such a move goes against the grain in China, where Alibaba and Tencent are tailoring their internally built operating systems!based on Linux!to connect end-devices with their Cloud. This pairing has energised the wearable industry in China in recent months.

Rather than partnering with China's Internet giant, Huawei wants to include an outsider, Google, in its small circle of friends.

Earlier this week, at an event in Beijing, Huawei unveiled its "Agile IoT" architecture, including an operating system called LiteOS to control basic devices.

It's not clear what Huawei's LiteOS ambition means to the company's long-term future with Google. However, the point isn't about ditching or befriending Google. Indeed, many things Google!like Google Search and Gmail!are banned in China. For Huawei, it's all about going global. And Huawei wants a small team of well-orchestrated powerful allies to push its agenda.

Huawei doesn't need to be the "King" at each round table, Yang explained. "If people asked Huawei to lead at the round table, of course, we'd be glad to serve. But we can be one of the 'knights' at the table."

In describing the nature of the round tables, Yang said, "We aren't like Apple." The Cupertino, Calif.-based company tends to organise "a long rectangular table at which Apple always sits at the far end of the table."

Are these round tables industry standards groups or alliances, similar to Thread, Qualcomm's AllSeen or Intel-led Open Interconnect Consortium? Yang told us "No." Huawei's roundtables will foster collaboration on the "implementation level," Yang explained.

To understand how Yang came to conceive the idea of exclusive circles with a small number of industry leaders for Phase II of his mobile strategy, it helps to know where Huawei has come from.

Duplicate the success

First, Huawai's expertise lies in telecommunication technology.

Huawei has steadily built a global presence in the telecom market for infrastructure equipment (such as base stations) over the last 20 years. The company's underdog mentality and collective memory of hard work created an "against-all-odds" success story.

Huawei has had its own smartphone business since 2010, seeking to replicate its success in the telecom gear sector. In this endeavour, Yang explained that Huawei faced "a steep learning curve."

Huawei's mobile business in early the 2000's focused on feature phones based in the ODM business. With no branded Huawei phones in the beginning, the company targeted the lower-tier market.

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