Huawei’s Proprietary Operating System ‘Hongmeng OS’ Not a Replacement for Android

Huawei is downplaying the notion that its proprietary operating system could serve as a replacement for Android on its smartphones.

According to a new report from Chinese state news agency Xinhua, Huawei SVP Catherine Chen has said that its in-house Hongmeng operating system, which was expected to be used in the event that the company loses access to Android, isn’t designed for smartphones, adding that the firm intends to keep using Google’s popular OS.

Huawei‘s Hongmeng OS was recently trademarked, explains Chen, but it was always intended for industrial use and has been in development long before the discussions about replacing Android came about following the trade war between the United States and China.

The Hongmeng OS apparently contains much fewer lines of code — hundreds of thousands, instead of dozens of millions like mobile operating systems like Android and iOS. Huawei’s in-house OS also allegedly has extremely low latency compared with the aforementioned smartphone operating systems, Chen added.

Huawei company chairman Liang Hua said last week that Hongmeng was mainly developed for internet of things (IoT) devices, and Huawei hasn’t decided if it’ll be applied as a phone OS.

The news comes after it had been widely expected that Hongmeng OS would be developed as an alternative to Android after the US government placed Huawei on an entity list that would prevent it from working with companies like Google.

“Huawei is in the process of potentially launching a replacement,” Andrew Williamson, Huawei’s vice president of communications and public affairs, previously told Reuters. “It’s not something Huawei wants. We’re very happy being part of the Android family, but Hongmeng is being tested, mostly in China.”

Whether Huawei will be able to keep on using Android remains unclear. US President Trump did appear to be softening his stance on the company late last month, and while it is still blacklisted, it appears the Commerce Department is willing to grant more US companies licenses to do business with the firm.