Huawei's first Android-rivaling smartphone may launch this year

(Image credit: Karlis Dambrans / Shutterstock)

Update (August 8): The first Hongmeng device will be the Chinese version of the Huawei Mate 30 Lite.

Huawei could launch its first smartphone running its in-house Hongmeng OS before the end of 2019.

A report by the Global Times via Reuters suggests the first Hongmeng-powered handset will be a budget smartphone priced at around CNY 2,000 (approximately INR 21,000) and could go on sale later this year. 

No other details have been mentioned yet, and we will have to wait to learn more about this upcoming low-end smartphone.

Why might Huawei use Hongmeng OS on phones?

Earlier this year, Huawei was subject to trade sanctions which disallowed any American company to trade with it. Companies like Qualcomm, Google, and Corning pulled their hands off Huawei, which led to a global crisis for the Chinese company.

While the Huawei ban only came into effect this year, in turn throwing the firm's Android alternative platform - Hongmeng OS - into the spotlight, the Chinese firm has actually been developing the software for a while.

Details around Hongmeng are still pretty scarce, but Huawei executives have referred to it as an operating system designed for connected internet-of-things products. An upcoming range of Honor TVs is expected to form the first wave of Hongmeng powered devices.

Update: A new leak suggests that the upcoming Huawei Mate 30 series could host the debut of Hongmeng OS. The mid-range Mate 30 Lite will have a version running Hongmeng and should be available in China for the beginning.

Huawei is yet to formally confirm if Hongmeng will power future smartphones, with the company's chairman saying it would prefer to use Google's Android for handsets, but the switch could happen in the future as a part of their long-term strategy.

Historically, no other smartphone manufacturer has been able to split from Google and continue to flourish with Android and ancillary services. 

It will take a lot of R&D, developer support, and investment by the world's second-largest smartphone manufacturer to be able to break that deadlock and emerge a victor. Even amidst this geopolitical trade war, Huawei exhibited steady growth in the first half of 2019, growing by 23%.

Aakash Jhaveri

Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.