Huawei may have just revealed the name of its operating system planned to be launched as an alternative to Android, with the company securing a trademark on the term “Hongmeng” in its home country of China.
The documentation filed with the top intellectual property authority in the Far Eastern country clearly points to Hongmeng being an operatin system of some sort, though it doesn’t outright state it’s solely intended to power smartphones. Still, given Huawei’s existing operations, it’s unlikely the company would be pushing for a creation of an entirely new Internet-enabled ecosystem outside of its comfort zone, which happens to be smartphones, at least as far as consumer electronics are concerned.
Huawei’s filing also mentions wearables and other types of computers such as traditional laptops and even Internet-of-Things devices, with the main implication here being that the firm may be developing something that’s not so really a direct alternative to Android as much as it’s meant to rival Fuchsia, Google’s upcoming OS design as a scalable solution for the next generation of computing, regardless of specific form factors. Besides handsets, tablets, smartwatches, fitness trackers, and conventional computers, Hongmeng may even end up being integrated into connected vehicles, the newly emerged patent documentation suggests.
Huawei has been rather coy on the subject of its standalone OS ambitions, having never denied them, albeit without outright confirming them either. However, given recent developments, the company may soon have no choice but to pursue an in-house operatin system, or at the very least look outside of Google’s backyard for the firmware meant to drive its future smartphones. Given its established business model, i.e. the fact it always valued self-sufficiency, it’s much more likely Huawei will decide to go the former route, i.e. bite the bullet and take a loss on developing a standalone OS in the hope of breaking even in the long term.
The lack of apps is the biggest issue any new arrival to the OS space faces but the Shenzen-based tech giant is rumored to be planning to address that problem by making Hongmeng or however its in-house mobile OS ends up being called compatible with Android software. Still, without direct access to the Google Play Store, it’s unclear how users would be expected to install those. The rumor indicates Hongmeng will be based on the Linux kernel.
Some industry insiders believe Huawei may introduce its very own mobile OS as early as this fall, with the company being extremely likely to initially only target China with it. Whether it ends up bringing it to other markets will largely depend on how its current issues with the United States government are handled. With the conglomerate losing suppliers left, right, and center amid the ban issued by the Trump administration, its future is presently highly uncertain, even though China itself is unlikely to allow it to go under, not that it’s currently under any such direct threat, especially given how Washington already cut it some slack with a temporary license that allowed it to continue most of its workin relationships with American companies.