If the new reports from Chinese media are to be believed, then Huawei is currently testing a smartphone running on the company’s own HongMeng OS. The report also adds that the mid-range smartphone could go on sale later this year for a price of around 2,000 yuan (~$284).
This will be a major step forward for the world’s second-largest smartphone maker, especially at a time when the United States is threatening access to Google’s Android operating system.
However, it’s also surprising as Huawei executive had recently said that HongMeng is not an Android replacement and is aimed at IoT and industrial use. It had also confirmed that the first major devices powered by HongMeng would be its upcoming line of Honor-brand smart TVs.
Publicly, Huawei executives have downplayed the possibility that the HongMeng OS could power a smartphone. However, last week, Huawei chairman Liang Hua said the company preferred to use the Android operating system for its mobile devices and cited HongMeng as part of its “long-term strategy”.
Huawei has been at the center of geopolitical tension between the United States and China. In May, US President Donald Trump placed the company on an “entity list”, effectively barred American suppliers from selling to the company.
Last month, Trump signaled that the sanctions will be relaxed and the US-based companies will be allowed to do business with Huawei. After this announcement, Huawei officials started talking about HongMeng OS and claimed that it’s not for smartphones.
So, there’s a possibility that HongMeng OS was meant to replace Android OS but since it can now get access to Android without any issues, the company has changed its stance. Earlier, the company’s CEO had also confirmed that the OS is “very fast” compared to Android.
With the ban from the United States from sourcing technology from its companies, smartphone sales for Huawei tanked overseas. However, its shipments in China increased 31 percent year-on-year in the June quarter, claims market research firm Canalys.