Dr Wang Chenglu has written an outstanding account of how he led the development of Huawei’s alternative to Android. He strongly believes that replacing Android’s Linux file system with f2fs seriously speeds up the system. The Ark just-in-time compiler appears well optimized.

Android started in 2005, using Linux, a system designed for desktops. Because so many phones were using Android, major changes are hard to make. By the time Huawei began the project now called Ark/Hong Meng in 2012, the technology had improved.

The Huawei team identified dozens of ways Android could be improved and gradually implemented them. I’ve no ability to test them, but the choices Wang made correspond to some of the best thinking on operating systems.

Hundreds of millions of mobile phones already are using much of the system, built into Huawei’s EMUI version of Android. There’s no doubt it will work for the vast majority of applications, including on almost all that are used in China.

The holdup then is not the system. That’s very close. The problem Huawei has to solve is to make sure every app – including those from Google – works well.

Android has about 20 million lines of code. It will be a remarkable achievement if Huawei gets everything working well in the targeted six months.

Huawei has many remarkable achievements.