According to Chinese media outlet Global Times, several Chinese companies have joined forces with Huawei to help develop its Android replacement called HongMeng operating system.
Citing unnamed sources, Global Times says Tencent, a Shenzhen-based internet conglomerate that owns a social media platform named WeChat, is currently testing the HongMeng OS with the help of Huawei EMUI engineers. Smartphone makers OPPO and VIVO from BBK Electronics are involved as well.
HongMeng OS is also reportedly 60 percent faster than an unspecified version of the Android operating system, even though there is no word on testing methodologies to validate the claim.
It is believed that Huawei worked on its Android alternative for seven years before Google revoked its Android license. Faced with dire circumstances, the besieged Chinese telecom giant steadily took matters into its own hands, which includes asking developers to submit apps to the Huawei app store, as the US government refuses to backpedal from the historical blockade.
However, without secure access to the long-standing Android OS, HongMeng OS could also split the OS ecosystems between China and the west, creating a potential digital divide.
Google also seems concerned about the possible security risks introduced by HongMeng OS. According to The Verge, the Mountain View search giant is currently lobbying the Trump administration to end the crackdown because the company claims a Chinese-made OS could threaten US national security in the long run.
That being said, consumers may witness HongMeng OS in action during Q4 2019 if everything goes as planned, says Yu Cehngdong, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group.