Huawei testing smartphone with self-developed Hongmeng OS – report

Huawei is reportedly testing its own operating system, Hongmeng, on a smartphone that could be available later this year, according to Chinese state-run media.

The Global Times, citing unnamed sources, reported the new handset would be priced at the lower end, costing around $288. The outlet also said the Hongmeng OS could be unveiled this week at Huawei’s Developer Conference on Aug. 9.

A Hongmeng-powered smartphone would be a departure from previous comments made by Huawei executives that indicated the new operating system would primarily be focused on IoT and industrial use, and not smartphones.

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That is in contrast to an April interview with chief of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group Richard Yu who told a German publication that the Chinese vendor prepared its own operating system in the case that it’s no longer able to use Google’s Android OS.   

There appears to be mixed messages when it comes to Huawei’s plans for the Hongmeng operating system.

According to Reuters, Huawei chairman Liang Hua said last week that the company preferred to use the Android OS for its mobile devices, calling Hongmeng part of Huawei’s “long-term strategy.”

The Chinese tech vendor previously said the new line of Honor smart TVs will be the first devices to leverage the Hongmeng OS. 

Huawei has found itself at the center of trade tensions between China and the U.S. this year. In May, the company was placed on the “entity list,” effectively banning Huawei from buying certain tech components from U.S. companies without government approval.

In July, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. would grant licenses to American tech companies to sell components to Huawei if the sales don’t pose national security risks and President Trump has indicated restrictions could be relaxed.

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Still, few additional details have surfaced. Whether Huawei will be able to continue accessing regular Android updates in the future remains uncertain.

Despite political headwinds from the U.S. export ban, Huawei increased its revenue in the most recent quarter 23.2% year over year to $58.3 billion.

Huawei’s shipments of smartphones for the first half of the year increased 24% to 118 million units.