Further signs from China on June 11 that Huawei’s new smartphone operating system could be used to drive a wedge in Google Android’s dominance of the market. According to China’s Global Times, which is essentially a government mouthpiece, “Huawei is reportedly intensively testing its proprietary operating system (OS) HongMeng with internet giants and domestic smartphone vendors, and the new system will be launched in the next few months.”
Given the source, the story needs to be contextualized as being part of the ongoing PR battle being waged by Beijing against Washington. The theme behind the story is China’s threat to split the global smartphone ecosystem, providing an alternative to Google’s full-blown Android software and services. If Huawei and the government can rally other leading Chinese players, so the theory goes, this becomes much more than simply one company’s attempt to survive a blacklisting.
The Global Times cited technology giant Tencent, as well as smartphone makers Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, and quoted an unnamed source “close to a major Chinese carrier” saying that the major Chinese technology companies “are actively working with Huawei to push forward the release of HongMeng OS, which is also considered as a major blow to the US-led crackdown.”
There have been reports that the new OS will launch on Huawei’s anticipated Mate 30 launch in the Fall. The Global Times referenced the P40 as an alternative. There have been conflicting reports as to the actual market-readiness of the OS, which might explain why an executive of Huawei’s business consumer group told the newspaper that the actual launch date remained “secret.”