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Huawei’s HongMeng OS is not an Android alternative for Smartphones

by Feritter Owich
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Ever since President Trump’s ban came into effect, so many of us have been talking about Huawei’s upcoming new Android-based OS for a few weeks now.

The Chinese company was even seen registering a Hongmeng trademark in several markets, and that’s what we’ve been calling the OS ever since.

However, the company just said that it wants to keep using the real Android on its smartphones.

In remarks to the press, according to The South China Morning Post, Huawei confirmed the name of its Android-based OS just a few days after it teased that its software is faster than Android and macOS. Weirdly enough, this is the first time Huawei referred to the OS as Hongmeng.

During a press conference in Shenzhen on Friday, 12th July, Huawei’s chairman Liang Hua said: “We haven’t decided whether to develop Hongmeng into a smartphone OS yet.” This comes off as a strange remark from the company considering that Huawei’s co-founder said in an interview with a French periodical that Huawei’s OS is ‘likely’ to be faster than Google’s Android. Correct us if we are wrong, but we don’t think that the two can be compared if one of them can’t run on smartphones.

Liang also told reporters that this might change if the U.S. blacklisting took another turn and Google’s Android OS fell off the table once again. An upside is that the company recently secured a partial reprieve from the U.S. on blanket supply chain restrictions.

Liang also said that Hongmeng was meant for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and that Huawei still prefers Google’s Android for smartphones.

This came out as he echoed the comments from Huawei’s CEO Ren Zhengfei, who recently told France’s Le Point that, “HongMeng is not designed for phones as everyone thinks. We didn’t develop the OS to replace Google; and if Google does withdraw its OS from Huawei, we will need to start building an ecosystem because we don’t have a clear plan yet.”

The executive’s remarks also echo Huawei’s main problem with Hongmeng. The OS lacks the magic of Google’s Android which is the Play Store and all the Google apps, and not forgetting the credibility that comes with it.

All this comes with a wave of confusion considering that Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, had told an audience in China back in May that a new OS would be available in the fall of this year and at the latest next spring. He further said that the OS had been in the works since 2012, would be compatible with all Android applications and web applications. In addition to that, its running performance would be improved by more than 60%.

Remember that Huawei had also reached out publicly to the developer community, inviting developers to join its developer portal and help publish apps on it.

We must admit that headlines around the world promised an exciting superfast alternative OS from Huawei, which was to be here in time to accompany the Mate 30 launch later in the year. But Huawei has clearly been relying on a blacklist backtrack from the U.S., on the restrictions being lifted from the consumer business. Meaning the Chinese telecoms giant will stay hopeful that there is not another change of heart in the U.S.because they will now have to make the new mobile OS a reality just as its consumers anticipated.

Although for now, anyone eagerly anticipating the release of Huawei’s new HongMeng mobile operating system, that was to be the Android replacement and faster, this update from company chairman Liang Hua on Friday (July 12) will have come as a major disappointment.

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