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The Chinese company’s self-designed operating system -- code-named "Hongmeng" but rumored to debut as "Ark OS" -- has been in the works as a backup plan in case access to the Android system stopped, Alaa Elshimy, Huawei Enterprise Business Group Middle East’s managing director and vice president, told TechRadar on Tuesday. Google announced last week it was banning Huawei from accessing some of the Android operating system's elements and other proprietary services in conjunction with President Trump’s executive order.
"Huawei knew this was coming and was preparing. The OS was ready in January 2018 and this was our 'Plan B,'" Elshimy 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. Now, we are rolling it out next month."
Huawei was granted a trademark for “Hongmeng” last week, though the company had also been working on the project under the code name “Project Z,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Elshimy said the new system is expected to work with all the apps that operated under Android and will be compatible with devices including smartphones, tablets, TVs and smartwatches. It’s unclear if all the apps in Google’s Play Store, the company's app store, will also be available on Hongmeng.
"The US sanctions won't affect the company's operating system and the chipsets in any way as we are self-reliant in many aspects,” Elshimy said.
The expected rollout of Hongmeng comes two months before Google is expected to officially cut ties with Huawei. Shortly after announcing the ban, Google said it was halting its plan after the U.S. Commerce Department granted a 90-day license for companies and Internet providers to coordinate with the Chinese tech giant in an effort to help existing customers.
Google will have until Aug. 19 to launch software updates and other tasks.