Chinese state media says Huawei is testing a smartphone with its homegrown HongMeng operating system to rival Google’s Android OS
- Chinese state media on Sunday said that Huawei is testing a smartphone backed by its homegrown HongMeng operating system and said the device could go to market by the end of 2019.
- Communist Party of China-aligned tabloid Global Times said the device would be priced at around $288, and said HongMeng would be "an alternative to Google's Android OS".
- The move comes as Huawei's relationship with the US remains tense after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a trade blacklist in May, which prevents the company from buying important parts and components from American companies without US government approval.
- In response to the ban, Google cut ties with the world's second-largest smartphone maker and said it would stop rolling out Android updates to Huawei devices.
Chinese state media on Sunday said that Huawei is testing a smartphone backed by its homegrown HongMeng operating system and said the device could go to market by the end of this year.
The phone would be priced at around $288 which would put it on par with devices priced on the lower-end of the smartphone market, Communist Party of China-aligned tabloid Global Times said, citing unnamed sources.
The report added that the HongMeng OS would be "an alternative to Google's Android OS," which the company plans to release at its annual Developer Conference on August 9 in Dongguan, China. The company has said the HongMeng OS would also feature on the brand's Honor smart TVs and could soon expand into other fields like autonomous driving, according to the report.
The move comes as Huawei's relationship with the US remains tense after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a trade blacklist in May, which prevents the company from buying important parts and components from American companies without US government approval. The Trump administration previously raised concerns that Huawei technology could pose a national security risk and may be used as a backdoor for Chinese government espionage.
In response to the ban, Google cut ties with the world's second-largest smartphone maker and said it would stop rolling out Android updates to Huawei devices, and new Huawei phones won't have access to services like Gmail and YouTube, along with other popular third-party apps.
The move has forced Huawei to speed up the development of its own operating system in order to maintain its position as a leader in global smartphone technology, though the company previously claimed it has been preparing its own "plan B" system for months just in case.
Earlier this month, a company executive told Chinese news agency Xinhua that the HongMeng OS would be used for industrial use rather than consumer smartphone use, though Sunday's report appears to contradict that assessment.
Though tensions remain between Huawei and the US, the Trump administration has recently loosened the restrictions placed on the Chinese telecommunications giant.
After meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit last month, President Trump said that US firms can resume selling equipment to Huawei.
"US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei ... there's no great, national emergency problem," Trump told reporters after his meeting.
Earlier this month, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced an easing of regulations against the Chinese company in line with Trump's statements after the G20 summit, indicating that the US would issue licenses to American companies looking to sell to Huawei as long as it does not pose a threat to national security, though the company remains on the US trade blacklist.
President Trump also met with leaders from Google, Cisco, Intel, Qualcomm, Micron, Broadcom, and Western Digital Corporation - all top producers of US technology equipment - last month to discuss national security restrictions against Huawei sales.
Intel CEO Bob Swan told CNBC last week that the company had resumed selling certain products to Huawei "within the rules of the law" during the second quarter, and that it was seeking permission to sell "general purpose computing" chips to the company that he believes do not pose a national security risk.
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