Huawei Could Release Phone with Its Own OS This Year

When it comes to Huawei and its contingency plans for an Android-compatible smartphone OS, it’s hard to know what to think. But according to a new report from the Chinese state media outlet Global Times, such a system could arrive as soon as this year.

I know. We’ve been down this road before.

In the wake of Huawei’s blacklisting by the U.S. government, Huawei pledged that it would continue supporting existing handsets with new Android versions and security updates. But the firm also revealed that it has been secretly planning for this day since 2012, and was developing replacements for both Android and Windows. In June, a South China Morning Post report claimed that a Huawei-created replacement for Android was called Hongmeng. But the firm denied that a month later, stating that Hongmeng was an IoT system for smart TVs and other similar embedded devices.

But last week, as part of its first half of 2019 financial report, Huawei said that Hongmeng was its “long-term strategy,” And now a new report in the Global Times says that it could be deployed in a new phone as soon as late 2019.

Citing multiple sources, the Global Times claims that Huawei will launch a sub-$300 smartphone running Hongmeng alongside the Android-powered Mate 30 Pro this fall. It’s not clear if this budget phone will be Android-compatible or will be sold outside of China. But the firm will allegedly produce “several million units.”

“Huawei is set to release the much-anticipated HongMeng OS, an alternative to Google’s Android OS, at Huawei’s Developer Conference on August 9 in Dongguan, South China’s Guangdong Province,” the publication notes. “The first batch of devices to be equipped with HongMeng OS will be the Honor smart TV series, which will be put into market on August 10. In the future, the HongMeng OS will be expanded into other fields including autonomous driving, remote medical services, and industrial control.”

While this report seems to further confuse matters, it may have actually stumbled onto the truth: Yes, Hongmeng was originally designed for embedded/IoT use and is thus much simpler and smaller than full Android. But with Huawei facing a long-term ban from using Google’s Android, it is adapting Hongmeng as a replacement for that system on smartphones too.

“Sources said that one of [the] tests Huawei is running on the HongMeng OS is its compatibility with Android applications,” the Global Times added.

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Conversation 24 comments

  • Daekar

    05 August, 2019 - 4:52 am

    <p>They should do this. Even if it's a loss leader, getting this thing out in the wild is the only way to move it forward a meaningful way. Once it's a living OS in the phone space with a Dev team and whatnot, they can keep it small and continue to refine it so it's always there and current in case they need it. </p>

    • jules_wombat

      05 August, 2019 - 8:03 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447360">In reply to Daekar:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yeah, because that worked so well for Microsoft Windows Phone didn't it?</p>

      • brduffy

        05 August, 2019 - 9:08 am

        <blockquote><a href="#447380"><em>In reply to Jules_Wombat:</em></a><em> While I don't think the chances of its success are good, I would argue that there is plenty of room for better execution than MS had with Windows Phone. </em></blockquote><p><br></p>

        • skane2600

          05 August, 2019 - 9:38 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#447383">In reply to brduffy:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, for one they are unlikely to tie its design in with a desktop OS the way Microsoft did.</p>

          • lvthunder

            Premium Member
            05 August, 2019 - 12:05 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#447389">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Why do you say this? They are working on their own desktop OS as well.</p>

            • skane2600

              06 August, 2019 - 10:34 am

              <blockquote><em><a href="#447410">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>Are they designing their mobile OS around their desktop OS? That's what I was referring to.</p>

      • Daekar

        05 August, 2019 - 9:09 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#447380">In reply to Jules_Wombat:</a></em></blockquote><p>Windows Phone was never intended to be the backup pistol nestling in your boot. Different, much more fundamental problems killed it. Huawei can more than afford to run this in the background as an insurance policy.</p>

      • skane2600

        05 August, 2019 - 9:36 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#447380">In reply to Jules_Wombat:</a></em></blockquote><p>You have a point, but remember that MS was not the #2 smartphone maker in the world at the time Windows phone was introduced nor the main home-grown maker in any country.</p>

  • tonchek

    05 August, 2019 - 4:55 am

    <p>Correciotn: "hard to know WHAT to think?"</p>

  • karlinhigh

    Premium Member
    05 August, 2019 - 7:59 am

    <p>In China, it should do OK as long as it runs WeChat, right?</p>

  • Slvrgun

    05 August, 2019 - 8:59 am

    <p>Cheeto will Block it</p>

  • beckerrt

    Premium Member
    05 August, 2019 - 9:24 am

    <p>I hope it works out. Kinda getting bored with the Apple/Google duopoly. We need something like ChromeOS in mobile – a different kind of OS that might only be viable for a small section of the market. </p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      05 August, 2019 - 12:04 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447385">In reply to beckerrt:</a></em></blockquote><p>We had three choices for a while, but it seems the market and the marketplace didn't want three choices, but only two so the third was largely ignored.</p>

      • PeterC

        05 August, 2019 - 2:38 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#447409">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>That will be the US marketplace though. The same can’t be said for the European, Russian, Indian, Chinese and African markets…they’ve been asking for alternatives for a while. </p><p><br></p><p>its always easy to assume the US market represents the global market. It doesn’t. You’ll find the growth markets of India Russia and China want something different. Much different.</p>

      • JerryH

        Premium Member
        05 August, 2019 - 2:50 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#447409">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>The third was ignored because developers ignored it. If the statement in the article about compatibility with Android applications is actually correct then they would have a huge lead over where Microsoft ever got with Windows Mobile.</p>

        • wright_is

          Premium Member
          06 August, 2019 - 12:34 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#447461">In reply to JerryH:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, over here, the Windows Phone was outselling the iPhone, when Microsoft dropped it…</p>

  • Passinttd

    05 August, 2019 - 2:19 pm

    <p>I see this as a big deal. Not in terms of Hauwei being out from under the Android problem. I see this as a big deal when China's leadership says that all future phones in China must run this instead of Android. Resources would be thrown at it and developments made fairly quickly. </p><p><br></p><p>I don't believe pulling Android from Huawei will have a lasting impact on them but will have a lasting impact on us. Especially if other parts of the world that are China friendly follow suite and have something to put stock in. </p><p><br></p><p>All in all, 5 years from now this will all be a mute issue. This problem will resolves itself one way or another and it won't have a real tangible impact either way.</p>

  • Thom77

    05 August, 2019 - 2:55 pm

    <p>Call me crazy but I almost would rather have China collecting my data through a device then Google at this point if I had to choose. In a perfect world, I would want neither, but forced to choose, I think Google is literally more dangerous ….. then a foreign government … as far as the negative impact to my privacy and ownership over my personal data.</p><p><br></p><p>Google is basically a privatized intelligence agency at this point. Would you rush out to buy a phone produced by the CIA with CIA software on it? </p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      06 August, 2019 - 12:36 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#447462">In reply to Thom77:</a></em></blockquote><p>For us, non-Americans, it is even worse. Do we want Americans spying on us or Chinese? Neither, thank you.</p><p>If I don't have a choice, I'll take the cheaper Chinese product and disable as much spying as I can.</p>

      • skane2600

        06 August, 2019 - 11:28 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#447511">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>Maybe there needs to be an EU mobile ecosystem. </p>

        • PeterC

          07 August, 2019 - 4:03 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#447585">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Hi skane2600, the EU have stated this and much of their fines, investigations and legal cases against US tech companies is paving the way for this, by trying to create the opportunity for a Europe wide tech industry to grow and flourish.. One particular problem area is how small innovative start up business end up being bought out by the big us tech companies so they acquire new IP to reinforce their existing dominance and stranglehold access to key platforms services etc for upcoming business. Happens across a lot of regions and in many respects is a standard business practise of business acquisitions etc, but the dominant leverage ( search, play store etc) of these companies is squashing users choice and what would be normal market competition. So stating that Europe needs a mobile eco system is true but let’s say one comes to the fore, how is this going to get onto handsets? When you look at Google’s OEM contracts you realise it’s a total lock in. Look at googles response to Eu/huawei last year when the EU was probing Google’s Android handset supply contracts with manufacturers as part of its investigations. Huawei wanted to supply Europe with an open source android handset for its own EU based App Store initiative… its around the same time huawei offered to sell Apple modem chips in its ongoing Qualcomm dispute. Curiously 12 months later huawei are heavily confronted by US govt sanctions. The behind the scenes wrangling of last years EU google investigations was a tipping point and wake up call to many of just how capable huawei had become and how US tech dominance could be broken which both US boardrooms and the US Govt don’t want to happen. The only companies that can break this deadlock are ones who can make handsets, have an OS, have an App Store and can supply their own silicon and component supply lines etc….. so that’s either Samsung or Huawei. The US will do anything to stop huawei succeeding, and they are trying, but the Chinese are exceedingly resourceful and are prepared to take some serious set backs to achieve their goals. The same trade battle will possibly replicate itself with India too…. although it’s early days still but it’s on the cards, just watch and see. </p>

  • chocolate starfish

    05 August, 2019 - 4:28 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#447429">In reply to SvenJ:</a></em></blockquote><p>Potentially it is. Trump could punish trading partners who refuse to follow his lead. </p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    06 August, 2019 - 12:38 am

    <blockquote><em><a href="#447429">In reply to SvenJ:</a></em></blockquote><p>We saw, in June, that yes that is a problem for everyone. The ban on Huawei stopped them getting chips and other components, they lost the rights to use future designs of ARM, they lost the rights to use future versions of Android and Windows (hence HongMeng), they probably lost a lot of other things, like VxWorks for industrial hardware, for example, which don't hit the news.</p><p>On the other hand, that would also have meant 20 – 30% less sales for some American companies, like Google for Android, Qualcomm would be heavily down on LTE chipsets, Intel on processors etc.</p>

  • yangstax

    06 August, 2019 - 5:25 am

    <p>It is not just Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo will also join in the testing of HongMeng OS on their devices.</p>


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