IT'S THE MOMENT we've all been ambivalent for and finally, it might be here unless it isn't.
Huawei's Hongmeng OS (aka Ark OS, aka Harmony OS, aka Oak OS but only amongst people who were clearly eavesdropping, that one has since been discounted) could be about to finally appear over the parapet.
For the uninitiated, Hongmeng has been in development since 2012 as an alternative for Android and depending on who you believe, Windows too.
Work ramped up as tensions were increasing between China and the USA, with the aim of being able to carry on seamlessly should the type of ban that has happened, happen.
Now, according to a report in Chinese state paper Global Times, which may or may not be right, Huawei will be taking the dustcloth off Hongmeng during this year's Huawei Connect conference, taking place this weekend in Dongguan.
The report suggests that Hongmeng has been designed to cope with a variety of form factors, fuelling further speculation that it will be going all-in on the new OS for notebooks and tablets as well as mobiles.
In fact, the primary market for Hongmeng is likely to be IoT devices, much as with Samsung's Titan operating system. Indeed the first devices are likely to be Honor-branded smart TVs and set-top boxes.
That said, we've also been told it's for "industrial" use, so all bets are off at this stage.
It's not thought to be a replacement for Android and Windows at this stage, with the first such device likely to be a budget handset, released around the time of the Android-toting Huawei Mate 30 range, due in September or October, but not replacing it.
With any new operating system or fork, it will take a long time to worm its way into the market. You only have to look at Chrome OS, which is still boasting a mere 0.17 per cent of the market at the time of writing.
Hongmeng has been designed with a micro-kernel for maximum flexibility, with unofficial statements from the ever-loose-lipped Huawei exec corps citing AI as one of the main targets for plug-in functionality.
Whether Hongmeng (or whatever it ends up being called outside China) ever sees the European market will largely depend on its success at home, but given the bad press the company has had recently, using a recognised operating system, there'll be a fair few people who would be put off by something grown out of Huawei, even with Android compatibility. μ
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