We're not entirely sure what Huawei is working on deep inside its software labs – Ark OS, possibly, or Harmony OS – but the company says the operating system it's building is being designed for industrial use rather than as a direct Android replacement.
That's as per the state-backed Xinhua news agency, which reports a Huawei executive insisting that Android will continue to run on Android phones for the foreseeable future.
Huawei senior Vice President Catherine Chen told the media that the operating system – which also goes by the name Hongmeng – is “not for smartphones” and has far more lines of code than would be needed for consumer mobile devices.
- We're impressed by the Huawei P30 Pro
- The US Huawei ban looks set to be relaxed
- More leaks of the Google Pixel 4 XL
The comments need to be taken in a wider context though: Huawei representatives have previously said that the Chinese tech giant is indeed working on a replacement for Android. That might be true as well, of course, even if what we know as Hongmeng or Ark or Harmony isn't it.
The waiting game
If you're a little confused about where Huawei is heading with this, don't worry, because you're not alone. This is all playing out against the backdrop of Huawei's strained ties with the US, with the situation – and the public narrative – changing week by week.
Chen is reported as saying that Hongmeng has been in the works for years – something we already knew – and we had been lead to believe the OS might cover laptops and wearables as well as mobile phones.
Not so, according to Chen's latest comments, which may be intended to smooth over relationships between Huawei and Google in the light of a possible easing of restrictions. The two companies have enjoyed a strong partnership in the past, and it seems Huawei would much prefer to stick with Android if it has the chance to do so.
We can only wait and see what happens with Huawei's access to US software and the operating system it runs on its phones. The next flagship due to arrive from the Huawei stable is the Huawei Mate 30 and Huawei Mate 30 Pro, expected around October time.