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More contradictory claims about Huawei’s in-house OS surface from Middle East rep [Updated]

There are still a ton of questions regarding Huawei’s future, and one of the most confusing parts so far is the company’s in-house Android replacement OS. There has not been a single clear bit of information regarding this new platform, but now a regional head at the company is claiming the OS could arrive in June.

Taking a step back in the timeline, reports surfaced in the past few months that Huawei has been working on a replacement OS for Android in the case that it lost access to Google’s platform. Now that exactly that has happened, we’ve heard conflicting reports about the OS.

While some reports claim Huawei is seemingly going to stick with Android and just replace the Play Store, others have claimed that the company’s OS is nearing completion and heading out to consumers as early as this year. The most trustworthy information to date came from a report that found that “Project Z” was far from ready for prime time.

That’s why a statement today from Huawei’s head of Middle East is so strange. Speaking to TechRadar, the representative said that Huawei’s in-house OS has been ready since January of 2018 and that it will be rolling out to customers next month. Alaa Elshimy, Managing Director and Vice President of Huawei Enterprise Business Group Middle East, said:

Huawei knew this was coming and was preparing. The OS was ready in January 2018 and this was our ‘Plan B.’ 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. Now, we are rolling it out next month.

Update: Huawei has provided an updated statement to TechRadar to debunk the statement. Huawei’s replacement OS, confirmed to be codenamed “Hongmeng” in this statement won’t arrive in June of this year and the company instead pointed to the late 2019-early 2020 launch previously mentioned. Interestingly, the company also said that those dates are accurate for China, not revealing any details on wider global availability.

There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical about this, first and foremost that it directly contradicts reports that come directly from Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu both to US media and Chinese.

Further, it seems incredibly unlikely that Huawei would start a “global rollout” of a brand new operating system when the platform hasn’t even officially been announced, and we’ve not yet gotten a proper look at what it might be. The company would also be shooting itself in the foot to ditch Android in regions outside of China, which “global” implies.

Even more importantly, rolling out an OS outside of China without any Google services is not going to keep customers happy, especially if it were to replace their current Android setup. Even making new devices available with this OS would probably see adoption numbers drastically lower than what Huawei’s Android offerings do.

There’s also a track record for these confident statements from local representatives at Huawei being false. Remember when the company claimed to be building the 2016 Nexus phones that never actually existed?

Clearly, there’s still a ton of confusion here and no clear answers, so take everything with a grain of salt. One telling part of this statement from the company came from the narrative that Huawei is “self-reliant,” something the company undoubtedly wants to push with all of the current drama around it.

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