The US trade ban has taken an extensive toll on Huawei, with the Chinese phone manufacturer having to swiftly find an alternative to the Android mobile operating system it currently relies on due to Google being a US company.
While the company has been reportedly working on its own Hongmeng operating system since 2012, the pressure has built considerably in recent months to present a finished and viable alternative to Android.
Do Androids dream of Hongmeng?
Huawei representative Andrew Williamson has spoken of the readiness of this operating system in an interview in Mexcio City, stating that “it’s not something Huawei wants [...] but Hongmeng is being tested, mostly in China”.
Williamson also claimed that he believes “it is already being rolled out over a million devices”, and Reuters has reported that Huawei has filed “Hongmeng” trademarks in the EU as well as multiple countries, including Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, Cambodia, and Peru.
Huawei would obviously prefer to stick with Google’s Android system, and would put the brakes on the Hongmeng roll-out if the US Government’s decision is revoked, but its backup OS will be ready to launch “in months”, according to Williamson.
A Play Store by another name
One of the major drawbacks Huawei would face from having to leave behind Google’s Android mobile OS is its loss of access to its Play Store and the vast collection of verified and trusted apps that come with it.
The Chinese company has its own app store – Huawei AppGallery – but it currently doesn’t feature anything close to the range of apps as Google or Apple’s counterparts.
As such, the company has reached out to developers that currently have apps on the Play Store, according to a leaked email shared with XDA Developers, in order to request they also publish their popular apps over in the AppGallery and help boost its catalogue.
The email suggests that AppGallery has 560,000 developers currently in the community, and that the platform comes preloaded on every Huawei phone sold globally, reaching 270 million monthly active users.
On top of all this, the Chinese communications giant has also filed an official complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the banning of its network technologies on the grounds of national security.
The letter claims that “banning particular vendors on grounds of ‘national security’ will actually do little or nothing to protect the security of America’s telecommunications networks. Rather, forcing network operators to rip out and replace their existing equipment would pose a greater threat to network stability and security.”
Furthermore, Huawei claims that, despite its efforts, Federal Commissioners have refused to meet with company representatives in order to explain the accusations of threatening national security, and the Chinese company is “therefore handicapped to respond”.