Whatever OS Huawei has been working on, the company says it won’t replace Android

If you’ve kept track of the political football in Washington that is Huawei, you’ll know that the Trump administration, which supports the Chinese tech manufacturer, is at odds with Congress, which wants it disassociated with U.S. trade partners. The company has publicly been preparing contingency measures for a variety of situations, including replacement software for its smartphones should Android become unusable as a result of the ban. However, one of its board members has revealed that it has no intentions to leave Android, contradicting what executives have previously said about their plans.

Catherine Chen, a senior vice president, told the press yesterday that Huawei’s Hongmeng OS, which the wider media has fingered as a potential Android successor, was designed for industrial use and contains a magnitude of code less than what a modern consumer device operating system would require. The state-backed Xinhua news agency reports that Huawei expects to remain with Android on its phones for the foreseeable future.

Last week, one of the company’s rotating chairmen, Liang Hua, also stated that Hongmeng was not fit to replacement Android as it was intended for Internet of Things devices. Hua later stated that he wasn’t sure if Hongmeng could be deployed as a smartphone OS in the future, Technode reports.

Huawei has attained trademark protections for Hongmeng OS, but also is said to be aiming for other names including Ark, Oak, and Harmony.

Last month, Andrew Williamson, Huawei’s vice president of public affairs and communications, told Reuters that the company was “in the process of launching a replacement” for Android and that “Hongmeng is being tested, mostly in China.”

Huawei remains in a precarious trade position against United States suppliers. It is on reprieve from an import ban for the next month and also has approval from the Trump administration for expanded relationships which don’t pose a “national security risk” with a handful of firms. At the same time, legislators are drafting bills to limit Huawei from contracting with the government and, in turn, other U.S. companies.

Other executives have been bolstering Huawei’s software development prowess, leaving the impression that it is ready to take attacks head first. And yet, the company remains intent on updating 17 of its phones to Android Q. Its narrative has had to shift (along with many others related to the U.S.-China trade tensions) through the past several months and it doesn’t look like that shifting is done.

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