Huawei Confirms Android Rival, Testing Already Under Way

Huawei has finally confirmed that it’s working on an Android replacement after the United States government banned it from using Google’s operating system.

The executive order signed by US President Donald Trump in mid-May does not allow Huawei to use products developed by American products, and these include operating systems like Android and Windows.

As a result, Huawei started the development of an in-house platform that would replace both and keep its devices alive. The testing is under way, Andrew Williamson, vice president of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s public affairs and communications, told Reuters.

While no specifics were provided, Huawei is believed to be targeting a late-2019 release of the operating system on Chinese products, whereas the international debut should happen in 2020.

Possible launch later this year

Codenamed Hongmeng, the OS could end up being called Ark OS in foreign markets.

“Huawei is in the process of potentially launching a replacement,” Williamson was quoted as saying by the cited source. “It’s not something Huawei wants. We’re very happy of being part of the Android family, but Hongmeng is being tested, mostly in China. Presumably we’ll be trying to put trademarks.”

As indicated by Reuters, Huawei is moving rather fast, and the company has already applied to trademark Hongmeng in several countries.

Meanwhile, Huawei is trying to deal with another issue: more and more suppliers give up on their collaboration with the Chinese tech giant following the US ban. Williamson warns that although every company can decide its own future, abandoning contracts with Huawei could have what he described as “catastrophic” consequences.

“We’re not specifically asking anyone to lobby for us. They’re doing it by their own desire because, for many of them, Huawei is one of their major customers,” he explained.

Huawei’s operating system will continue to offer support for Android apps, and it will come with a custom app store. The company is now trying to convince developers to bring their apps to this store.


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