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Huawei VP confirms that Hongmeng OS is for IoT, not smartphones

What’s happened to Hongmeng OS? Huawei’s proprietary operating system was earlier slated to be an alternative to Android OS for the Chinese tech giant’s smartphones, amidst trade tensions with the U.S. government. However, restrictions on Huawei have been somewhat relaxed, although it’s been reported that lifting the ban isn’t going to be such a straightforward process.

But it turns out that Hongmeng OS wasn’t even being developed for smartphones in the first place. Huawei chairman, Liang Hua, earlier told reporters in Shenzhen, “We haven’t decided yet if HongMeng can be developed as a smartphone operating system in the future.” Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei has also been recently quoted as saying:

“HongMeng is not designed for phones as everyone thinks. We didn’t develop the OS to replace Google—and if Google does withdraw its OS from Huawei, we will need to start building an ecosystem because we don’t have a clear plan yet.”

Much fewer lines of code than a smartphone OS

Catherine Chen, a board member and Senior Vice President at Huawei, explained at a media roundtable at Brussels, Belgium that the recently trademarked OS is actually purposed for internet of things (IoT) and industrial use instead.

The VP also confirmed that Huawei will continue to use Android in its smartphone, after Malaysia Country Director for Consumer Business, Bill Liu, confirmed as much during a recent press conference.

“Huawei is a worldwide leading vendor of equipment to telecommunications operators such as Vodafone, has also become in recent years an international powerhouse of consumer devices such as smartphones, which run on the Android system. The company intends to continue using Android.”

– Catherine Chen, Senior Vice President at Huawei

Chen also explained the intricacies of developing a mobile operating system, saying:

“An operating system for smartphones usually contain dozens of millions of lines of codes, Hongmeng contains much fewer—in the number of hundreds of thousands— and therefore very secure. Hongmeng system also has extremely low latency compared with a smartphone operating system”

Hongmeng OS, according to the VP, was already in development long before the country’s well-documented issues with American authorities. While that’s probably true, it does appear to contradict earlier reports that the Chinese company was planning on using Hongmeng OS for mobile devices in the event of a permanent ban.

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It seems that the much-discussed Hongmeng OS was always, and will continue to be a plan b of sorts, with Huawei’s chairman Liang Hua confirming that the company will consider developing Hongmeng for smartphones if the issue with the American authorities takes a turn for the worst, again.

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