Huawei's HongMeng Android alternative launch date uncertain

Huawei's new OS is still in works, but likely won't be ready next month.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
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Huawei's Android replacement could appear in June. 

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Huawei's Android replacement is not, apparently, right around the corner. 

After reporting that Huawei was preparing its new operating system for a possible launch, Huawei has told TechRadar that its home-grown OS will not be rolled out next month. Instead, the company plans for the OS to be ready in China later this year, with an international launch in 2020. 

Huawei did not immediately respond to a CNET request for comment. 

Like most manufacturers, Huawei relies on Google's Android to power its phones. Earlier this month, Google announced that it would no longer grant an Android license to the Chinese company following a White House executive order that effectively blocked the company in the US

Huawei has since been given a 90-day reprieve on the block, which would have prohibited it from using Google's services and receiving monthly Android security updates from the search giant for updating existing devices and networks.

Huawei, however, has been preparing for such a scenario by creating its own software, codenamed HongMeng. Reports of the Android alternative began appearing after news of the ban became known, though its launch wasn't considered to be imminent.

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The company has been working on its own OS since 2012, a report from CNET sister site TechRepublic revealed last year. 

"Huawei knew this was coming and was preparing. The OS was ready in January 2018 and this was our 'Plan B'," Alaa Elshimy, managing director and vice president of Huawei Enterprise Business Group Middle East, told TechRadar.

"We did not want to bring the OS to the market as we had a strong relationship with Google and others and did not want to ruin the relationship." 

According to the report, existing Android apps will work with the new OS, which could mean it is based on the open-source version of Android. Huawei has its own app store on Android, called Huawei AppGallery, which could host the new apps. 

First published May 28, 2019 at 8 a.m. PT.  
Update, 10:17 a.m. PT: Originally published under the headline "Huawei's HongMeng Android alternative may arrive in June"; changes reflect Huawei reportedly denying a June launch.

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