The first smartphone to use Huawei’s own operating system, known as Hongmeng OS, will arrive later this year, according to a rumor originating from China. The device will be a low-to-midrange phone with a price tag under $290, following the software’s official announcement during Huawei’s developer conference on August 9.
This isn’t a small test either. An anonymous source speaking to China’s Global Times publication is quoted as saying there will be several million units in stock, and that it will be out during the final three months of 2019. Furthermore, the unnamed phone may be given its debut alongside the Mate 30 Pro, expected around the same time.
Hongmeng’s existence isn’t a surprise, but there have been conflicting rumors about what it will be used for, and when it will make an appearance. Initially believed to be an alternative to Google Android, should the ongoing battle with the U.S. result in an inability to use Google’s software, it has since been touted as a platform with wider use in Internet-of-Things devices. It’s speculated the software may be used on the Honor Vision television project, also likely to be revealed during Huawei’s developer conference.
The source speaking to Global Times said Hongmeng was closer to Google Fuchsia than Android, at least in terms of its technical build, which isn’t based on a Linux kernel — just like Fuchsia over Android. Google’s still secretive Fuchsia software is also believed to be suitable for a wide range of hardware.
Huawei chairman Richard Yu has said Hongmeng will be ready in late 2019, so the rumored release in the final three months fits with this. The phone is likely to only be available in China, where the software cannot run Google services, but does need to be compatible with Android apps. Huawei already uses a version of Android without Google services on its phones made for China. An international release of Hongmeng won’t happen until 2020, according to Yu.
Digital Trends has contacted Huawei for comment on the situation, and will update here with any new details should we receive any. Huawei’s continued presence on the U.S.’s Entity List, and currently no word on how the situation will be resolved, means Hongmeng’s development is important. However, Huawei has repeatedly stated it wants to continue using Android, provided it is able to do so. The Global Times publication, where the rumor originated, is a state-run news source, and therefore some stories may be politically influenced.