Huawei has reportedly shipped 1 million phones with its custom HongMeng OS for testing
Huawei has run into a string of troubles over the past month thanks in large part to a slew of business embargoes levied by the United States government. Several American companies have been banned from dealing with Huawei, including Google. That means that Huawei currently cannot use the Android operating system on its phones. But don’t count the Dragon out yet; according to China Daily, the largest Chinese OEM has reportedly shipped 1 million smartphones running its custom HongMeng OS.
According to the South China Morning Post, Huawei has been working on its own custom OS since 2012 for a time such as this. The news outlet said that Huawei has been developing its own microkernel for the past seven years to combat Android’s dominance in the smartphone market and as a contingency to reliance on a U.S. company. China and the U.S. have had strained trade relations for the past decade, so it makes sense that Huawei, one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world, would have a backup plan in case of an embargo from American companies.
HongMeng OS (or Ark OS, as it may be known globally) is said to be fully compatible with Android applications, according to Huawei CEO Yu Chengdong. Chengdong has also stated that HongMeng OS is as versatile as Android and that it can be used in everything from smartphones to smartwatches to smart TVs to vehicles. It’s likely that HongMeng OS is, like Android, based on the Linux kernel, which is open source and not beholden to any licensing laws.
It should be noted that a Chinese brokerage firm close to Huawei has stated that HongMeng OS will have an emphasis on protecting personal data. That remains to be seen; several Chinese firms (including Huawei) have been accused of sharing user data with the Chinese government.
Those that want to get their hands on HongMeng OS will have to wait; the million phones that Huawei has supposedly shipped with the OS were sent out as a test. The full OS won’t be publicly available until this fall at the earliest.