Chinese state-controlled media is surfacing again the seemingly dead story that Huawei is planning a rival Android OS for forthcoming smartphones.
Huawei Technologies is testing a smartphone equipped with Hongmeng, the company’s self-developed operating system, which could potentially go on sale by the end of this year, Global Times, the CCP's tabloid PR machine, reported.
The release of a Hongmeng-powered smartphone would mark a major step for China’s Huawei, as U.S. government actions threaten its access to Google’s Android operating system.
The device will be priced at around 2,000 yuan ($288), according to a Sunday Global Times report, based on unnamed sources.
The newspaper even reported that the OS "has cryptographic functions that protect personal data better and prevent users' privacy from being breached."
Huawei did not comment on the report.
Huawei executives have previously described Hongmeng as an operating system designed for internet-of-things products. Last month the company said the first major devices powered by Hongmeng would be its upcoming line of Honor-brand smart TVs.
The company has publicly downplayed the possibility that the software could power a smartphone.
Huawei has been at the center of geopolitical tension between the United States and China since May, when President Donald Trump placed the company on an “entity list” that effectively barred American suppliers from selling to the company.
Trump has signaled that the sanctions will be relaxed, although further details remain scarce.
Despite the difficulties, Huawei’s revenue in the first half of 2019 grew 23%, in part due to strong domestic demand for its mobile phones. While smartphone sales tanked overseas, its shipments in China increased 31% year-on-year in the June quarter, according to market research firm Canalys.