There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about Huawei’s future beyond Android. When the US added the Chinese company to the Entity List, doubt about whether the company would be able to continue working with Google’s mobile operating system surfaced.
One of the names that has surfaced for this new mobile platform is HongMeng. While we’ve seen alternatives – Ark and Oak have both been reported – it seems that HongMeng has seen extensive trademark filing.
A quick search of the Worldwide Intellectual Property Organisation reveals numerous entries for HongMeng over the past weeks, covering a wide range of territories; the same is true of the European Union Intellectual Property Office, where Huawei HongMeng and HongMeng have both been trademarked.
We’ve also seen confirmations coming from Huawei execs about an alternative plan. As soon as Google had mentioned that it wouldn’t be able to support Android on Huawei devices, Jeremy Thompson, UK executive vice president told the BBC in an interview on 20 May: “We have a parallel programme in place to develop an alternative.”
Reuters now reports that Android Williamson, VP of Huawei public affairs said, “Huawei is in the process of potentially launching a replacement,” during an interview in Mexico City.
Previous reports have suggested that HongMeng will support Android apps (it’s likely to be based on the Android Open Source Project), with Huawei approaching developers to get apps into its own AppGallery so they remain accessible.
It’s still not clear how Huawei would plan to roll-out an alternative OS. The company has said that it still wants to work with Android – and Google has said that it still wants to support Huawei, so we’re at something of a stand-off. Currently, the licence that Huawei has to use the full Android version with Google services only last until August 2019.
It’s likely that there will be a change in the relationship between China and the US. The trade war between the two companies has seen Huawei in the eye of the storm, but it could be that it all blows over if an agreement is reached.
The alternative, it seems, would be Huawei rolling out HongMeng, an operating system that we currently know very little about.
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