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Huawei is in talks to launch "pilot" using Russian OS as replacement for Android



Photo: Andy Wong (AP)

After being placed in the so called. US federal government entities list severely restricting access to US technology, Chinese tech giant and world's second-largest smartphone maker Huawei investigates use of Russian Aurora operating system as a replacement for Google's Android operating system on its mobile devices , Reuters reported Monday.

As Reuters noted, Aurora is "the only operating system in Russia and is not currently in use. "The project currently under discussion is the installation of an OS of hundreds of thousands of tablets planned to be used in the 2020 census in Russia. However, one source told the news agency that the census could be a test of the wider use of Aurora: "This is a pilot project. We see this as the first stage in the launch of Huawei's Russian OS. "

Huawei's spokesman further confirmed to Reuters that the company is discussing a possible agreement with the Russian Ministry of Communications:

Russia is discussing the use of Aurora OS on 360,000 Huawei tablets by August 2020.

" Huawei is interested from the project. It shows samples of tablets that can be used, "said a second source. Aurora is the only operating system in Russia and is not currently used.

Aurora is owned by the telecommunications company Rostelecom, which in turn is controlled by the Russian Rostelecom is also responsible for selecting the tablets to use for the census and confirmed to Reuters that it is exploring "different options for cooperation" with Huawei.

The Trump administration has put Huawei on the list of legal entities of the Commerce Department. – but this year against the backdrop of the US intelligence community, the company is a threat to national security and could be involved in espionage. (At one point, the CIA reported trying to convince allies that Huawei's telecommunications equipment could not believes in presenting "strong but not cast-iron" evidence that the company is partly funded by Chinese military and intelligence assets.) The US has further accused Huawei of fraud and commercial theft and is seeking the extradition of its chief financial officer Canada's Meng Wenzhou on charges of violating sanctions on Iran.

Huawei categorically denied the allegations and tried to present the issue as revenge for overtaking US companies. There is also considerable speculation that the Trump administration is targeting Huawei as a powerful weapon in the face of the ongoing US-China trade war. NPR recently reported that a "vocal and growing group of hawks" in China has argued that the country "must oppose the US and avoid an agreement at all costs", though both sides show signs of hesitation.

Many Western companies have terminated their relationship with Huawei and after the grace period expires, it will be restricted from losing access to future Android updates. Instead, Huawei focused on developing its own open source mobile operating system, HarmonyOS (Hongmeng). Recently, Wired announced that the long-term viability of HarmonyOS as a replacement for Android is questionable, as its rapid development could lead to cutting corners, and Huawei's phones working with it would not have access to Google's widespread offerings.


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