If you’ve been following the news, you must know Huawei was hit by trade restrictions from the US government, and US companies announced they’d comply meaning Intel, Google, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Xilinx, and others announced they’d have to mostly stop doing business with Huawei. At first, it seemed like all Google services would stop working on existing Huawei phones, but it’s not that bad, and apparently, it only impacts phones sold after May 16. Everything is still in flow, so it may take a while for things to settle down, and find out what the practical implications will be.
Nevertheless, upon reading the news, I thought it would be a boon for projects like /e/ operating system that works without closed-source binaries from Google, but it turns out that Huawei is working on its own operating system called HongMeng (鸿蒙) OS according to Chinese media reports.
We don’t have a whole lot of details, but HongMeng OS is supposed to be in the trial phase and may replace Android in future Huawei handsets. Some Chinese sources report the OS has been developed for a while (Google translation):
“A professor led the Huawei operating system team to develop a proprietary operating system – Hongmeng. The operating system has been optimized for Linux (open source), and has been used in Huawei mobile phones (safety part). In addition, the project also won the first prize of the Ministry of Education Technology Invention (2018), the second prize of the National Technology Progress (2012), and strive for csranking as soon as possible before entering V. Prepare to declare the 2020 National Technology Progress Award.”
The final name change since HongMeng OS may just be a codename. There are also challenges to bringing a new OS to market, and the most difficult task may be to motivate developers to bring their app to the platform. Just ask Samsung (Tizen) and Microsoft (Windows Mobile).