Huawei Says Hongmeng OS Will Not Replace Android

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Chinese firm insists that Android will continue as smartphone OS, and that Hongmeng is not a replacement

Huawei Technologies is known to be working on a new operating system, called Hongmeng, but the firm has insisted that it is not a replacement for Android.

Huawei’s use of Android for its smartphone range has been in doubt ever since President Donald Trump signed an executive order in May that saw Huawei placed on an ‘entity list’ that prevents US companies from exporting products to it.

Following that, Google announced it was cutting off Huawei’s access to some Android software and services.

Hongmeng OS

Google had said in May that users of existing Huawei devices, including those already sold or in stock globally, would continue to be able to access Google Play and Google Play Protect security services.

But the blacklist meant that future Huawei devices could be barred from using Google’s commercial version of Android, as well as losing access to the Google Play store and popular Google Android apps such as Gmail, Chrome and Google Maps.

Huawei hinted that it had an alternative OS under wraps that it was still developing. And in June Huawei applied for patents to trademark its “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in at least nine countries and Europe.

A Huawei executive was also quoted as telling German newspaper Die Welt that Huawei has a back-up OS in case it is cut off from US-made software.

Huawei was known to be developing a Kirin OS a few years ago.

Industrial OS

But now the firm is saying the operating system it is building is being designed for industrial use rather than as a direct Android replacement, state media agency Xinhua reported.

Huawei board member and senior VP Catherine Chen reportedly said that Hongmeng is not for smartphones and the company intends to continue to use Google’s Android operating system for its smartphones.

Chen was quoted as saying that while an operating system for smartphones usually contain dozens of millions of lines of codes, Hongmeng contains much fewer – in the quantity of hundreds of thousands – and therefore very secure.

The Hongmeng system also has extreme low latency compared with a smartphone operating system, she reportedly added.

Last week American lawmakers reacted against attempts by President Donald Trump to ease the blacklisting of Huawei.

Members of the US Senate and House of Representatives introduced bills to keep tight restrictions on Huawei.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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