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Huawei to Trademark New Mobile Operating System as It Replaces Android

The embattled Chinese technology company could roll out devices with new software within months.

Chinese technology firm Huawei is preparing to trademark a mobile operating system named HongMeng in a bid to replace the Android OS offered by Google, a spokesperson for the company told news agency Reuters in Mexico last week.

Huawei will be filing the trademarks in Australia, Canada, the European Union, Mexico, India, and South Korea, among other countries and regions. The move comes after California-based Alphabet Inc.—the parent firm of the Android operating system—suspended business with the Chinese company.

The United States and China have been involved in a trade spat since U.S. President Donald Trump came to power in January 2017. Earlier in May, Trump banned Huawei from working with American companies over concerns that the Shenzhen-based firm is spying in U.S. cities on behalf of the Chinese government.

What is HongMeng?

HongMeng is an in-house Android replacement from Huawei that can work on phones, computers, tablets, televisions, and even cars, according to a report in Android Central. It is expected to launch with support for Android applications as well, since most Huawei devices in the market today use Google software.

However, it is likely that HongMeng will use a new app store for users. This store may not have millions of applications available currently on the Android-offered Play Store, which could limit the sales of new devices.

Reports indicate that Huawei has already started testing the software in some parts of China, where the transition from the Android Play Store to a new service is easier because most Google services are already suspended in the country.

What Comes Next for Huawei?

The Bell reports that Huawei chief Guo Ping has held informal discussions with Russian Minister for Media Konstantin Noskov over the possibility of Huawei using an open-source Russian operating system named Sailfish for its new devices. Testing on some devices with a version of Sailfish has already begun, claims The Bell. If the report is indeed true, it is unclear whether Sailfish would serve as a complete alternative to HongMeng across all Huawei devices or play a temporary or complementary role in conjunction with HongMeng.

Andre Williamson, vice president of public affairs at Huawei, said during an interview last week that the replacement software—which he did not name—could roll out on new devices within months if recent trade tensions between China and U.S. break into a formal trade war.

Willaimson was also confident that big technology giants in the North American country were lobbying the Trump administration to relieve the ban since Huawei was a major customer to the products offered by these companies, chief among them: memory chips that are used in many smart electronic devices.

Huawei is the second-largest smartphone maker in the world and the leader in providing upcoming 5G network internet services, which means that the implications of the Trump ban could go far beyond the United States.

Usman Kabir covers science, space, and technology for Globely News. As a kid, he would make models of the solar system and take part in water rocket competitions. His childhood obsession has led him to a degree in Space Science. Usman likes to spend his free time watching reruns of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Seinfeld."

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