Huawei's Hongmeng OS expected to be released in October

Daniel Fowler
June 14, 2019

The source of the report wasn't mentioned and so, this news could be regarded as being a part of the ongoing PR drive to get the United States government to capitulate on its ban of the company from using USA technology.

Whether it will be called Ark OS or Oak OS globally is still a mystery, but Huawei's Android alternative, dubbed HongMeng OS in China, is being developed at full speed, especially since Google revoked Huawei's Android license as a result of the USA ban. However, the latest report says that it won't come pre-installed in the flagship Mate 30 series.

President Donald Trump's administration last month put Huawei on a blacklist that barred it from doing business with us tech companies such as Alphabet Inc, whose Android OS is used in Huawei's phones.

Andrew Williamson, vice president of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's public affairs and communications, said in an interview that the company will "presumably" trademark Hongmeng, which he said has likely been rolled out to a million devices in China.

In response, Huawei, the world's second-biggest phone maker, has been ramping up plans for its own operating system, which it wants to release by early 2020, according to Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei's consumer division.

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As well as trademarking the software, Huawei is also shipping test devices.

The company has denied its products pose a security threat. Company executives have said that they aim to take the ratio to one in two this year, taking the domestic market share to 50 percent or more.

As another curveball to this story, there have also been reports in recent days that Huawei could decide to work with Russia and use a Russian-created OS as an Android replacement. Namely, employees of tech and entertainment giant Tencent, as well as Oppo and Vivo engineers. A Tianfeng Securities analyst thinks an October release is on the cards, but at least at first, Huawei could keep the OS exclusive to low-end devices, as its features may not initially meet the needs of high-end users outside of China.

Huawei, for sure, will face a challenge to build an ecosystem once it launches its OS, as getting all global app developers on board to tweak their products for the new Chinese platform won't be too easy.

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