Huawei abandons its mysterious 'plan B,' placing a huge bet on Trump letting them off the hook in trade deal

  • Huawei’sHongmeng OS, which was initially thought to be an alternative to Google’sAndroid, is not designed to be a replacement smartphone operating system, a company executive recently said, according to Xinhua.
  • Hongmeng OS is being developed for industrial use, Chen reportedly said at a media roundtable in Brussels, adding that the company intends to continue using Android.
  • The comments come after President Trump said American firms could resume business with Huawei following a blacklisting that was announced in May.
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Huawei has been working on an operating system called Hongmeng OS that was initially thought to be an alternative to Google’s Android. But recent comments from a company executive indicate this isn’t the case and that Huawei will continue using Android for its future mobile devices.

Catherine Chen, Huawei’s board member and senior vice president, said Hongmeng OS is designed for industrial use rather than consumer smartphones, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported citing a media roundtable in Brussels. Chen added that Hongmeng OS has been in development before there were discussions about finding an alternative to Android in light of Huawei’s blacklisting in the United States. She also said that Huawei intends to continue using Android, although the report did not provide further details.

Business Insider has contacted Huawei for additional details and clarity about Hongmeng OS, and will update this article accordingly if we hear back.

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The news comes after it had been widely expected that Hongmeng OS would be developed as an alternative to Android after the US government placed Huawei on an entity list that would prevent it from working with companies like Google. “Huawei is in the process of potentially launching a replacement,” Andrew Williamson, Huawei’s vice president of communications and public affairs, previously told Reuters. “It’s not something Huawei wants. We’re very happy being part of the Android family, but Hongmeng is being tested, mostly in China.”

The company recently filed a trademark for Hongmeng OS in multiple countries including Cambodia, Canada, South Korea, and New Zealand, Reuters reported in June citing data from the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organisation. Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer division, also told CNBC in June that it would be ready to roll out a new mobile operating system by the fourth quarter of this year in China if it lost access to Android. Yu also told German website Die Welt in March that it was working on a “plan B” operating system in case it could no longer use Google’s Android or Microsoft’s Windows.

Losing Android would be a huge blow for Huawei, considering it’s the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Without Android, Huawei could potentially lose most of its overseas market share, Mo Jia, an analyst with market research firm Canalys, previously told Business Insider.

Chen’s comments also come after a report from Reuters suggested that the US might approve licenses that would allow American firms to do business with Huawei again in as little as two weeks. President Trump also said US companies would be allowed to work with Huawei again after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Japan, but did not share additional details.

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