Chinese tech giant Huawei revealed its very own operating system, Hongmeng, on Friday amid escalating trade tensions with the US and in an attempt to rival Android.
At a press conference in Dongguan, Huawei’s head of consumer business, Richard Yu, stated that the new OS, Hongmeng (or in English, HarmonyOS), would “bring more harmony and convenience to the world”.
The long-awaited home-grown OS is considered to be vital to the survival of the company as the US previously blacklisted them from their market, leaving them without their primary chipmakers and most importantly, without Google, which meant that in a matter of time, the firm could potentially lose its access to Android on its devices.
Yu stated that the new OS was “future oriented”, that it would be “more smooth and secure”, and “completely different from Android and iOS”.
The firm said that they expect to launch the first version of the OS later this year in its smart screen products and within the next three years, they plan to then expand it across a wider range of smart devices, including wearable tech.
“If you’re asking when will we apply this to the smartphone, we can do it at any time,” said Yu. He also added that they are still prioritizing the Android OS.
He continued, “However, if we cannot use it [Android] in the future, we can immediately switch to the Harmony OS.”
The US and China have been at odds for quite some time now. Back in May, Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on Huawei due to alleged suspicions of the tech giant’s links to the Chinese government. Huawei is considered to be the world leader in 5G technology and is the number two smartphone producer globally.
Huawei has denied the US’s suspicions of its alleged cyber espionage. The US has been urging its allies not to use Huawei’s 5G equipment due to this however, there is no proof of Huawei’s links to the Chinese government nor cyber-espionage. Huawei has continuously denied these claims.
As a result of the trade ban, American companies are no longer allowed to sell products to Huawei. However there has been a three-month exemption period which is due to come to an end next week.
The ban would mean that Huawei would lose its access to the US market. This means that it could lose its main chipmaker and other companies which helped produce some major elements of their smartphones such as Google’s Android operating system.
It was found that Huawei was working on its own OS since 2012 in case they lost their access to Android. However, the firm has made it clear that they did not want to replace Android on its phones.