Chinese manufacturing giant develops HongMeng as a possible Android alternative amidst ongoing trade tensions between US and China
Huawei is testing smartphones powered by its own HongMeng operating system, with the devices set to go on the market by the end of this year, according to a local media report.
The Shenzhen-based company is planning to release a HongMeng handset in the low- to medium-range of the market, priced at 2,000 yuan (£234), Chinese state media outlet Global Times reported, citing an unnamed source.
The report indicates that Huawei is pushing ahead with plans to sell smartphones powered by its own software, as the company remains under threat of being barred from using Google’s Android.
In public, Huawei executives have described HongMeng as intended for smart devices such as television sets, and have said they would prefer to continue using Android.
In May the US placed Huawei on a national security “entity list”, prohibiting US companies from selling software or services to the Chinese firm.
The US administration has since relaxed its stance, but has tied the final outcome of the Huawei ban to ongoing trade talks between the US and China.
Meanwhile, Huawei is set to release the HongMeng OS to developers on Friday at its developer conference in Dongguan, in southern China.
The following day the first HongMeng devices are set to go on sale in the form of a line of smart TVs bearing the Honor brand.
Huawei has said it plans to expand HongMeng into areas including autonomous driving, remote medical services and industrial control systems.
Global Times’ source said Huawei is planning to release its HongMeng smartphone alongside the Huawei Mate 30 in the fourth quarter.
The device is set for a low price point to encourage sales and build a large user base, which would in turn make the platform attractive to developers, the source said.
Huawei’s smartphone shipments surged 24 percent worldwide in the first half of this year, largely ahead of the US blacklist action.
In the June quarter Huawei’s sales fell sharply overseas but rose 31 percent year-on-year in China, market research firm Canalys said.