While U.S. Manufacturing Company Flex closes Plants making Huawei Phones, Huawei Closer to Unveiling plans for New OS
American tech manufacturer Flex has laid off more than 10,000 workers in China due to geopolitical risks relating to Huawei. Flex, formerly known as Flextronics International, is an American multinational technology manufacturer, the third largest in the world behind China's Pegatron that Apple uses in China.
Flex’s Zhuhai factory was made up of two units — a southern and northern block, with the former entirely focusing on assembly business for Huawei smartphones. Production at that southern block has gone idle, leading to massive layoffs.
The Chinese publication Caixin Global reports that "Flex had previously warned it would reduce its business with Huawei following a U.S. government blacklist in May that limited the Chinese telecom giant’ engagement with American companies."
The move by Flex will obviously add more pain and pressure on Huawei to keep their full line-up of smartphone production.
On another front, China' Global Times reported yesterday that Huawei is in the early stages of testing its own operating system. In late May Patently Apple posted a report titled "With Google Suspending Android Services, Huawei Rushes to file two Trademarks in Europe for new Huawei 'Ark OS.' Then in June we reported on Huawei filing another round of operating system name trademarks covering "HongMeng."
China's Global Times reports that "Huawei is busy testing its smartphone armed with self-developed HongMeng operating system (OS), and the phone could be put into the market at the end of this year, targeting low- and medium-end markets and priced at around 2,000 yuan (US$288.24) to attract software developers and users to join their ecosystem, sources said.
Huawei is set to release the much-anticipated HongMeng OS, an alternative to Google's Android OS, at Huawei's Developer Conference on August 9 in Dongguan, South China's Guangdong Province.
The Chinese company said that the first batch of devices to be equipped with HongMeng OS will be the Honor smart TV series, which will be put into market on August 10, according to tech news site 36kr.com.
In the future, the HongMeng OS will be expanded into other fields including autonomous driving, remote medical services and industrial control.
Huawei executives hinted in earlier interviews that the HongMeng OS was primarily intended for the Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial use. But they also noted that if Google insists on cutting off supply of its OS to Huawei, the HongMeng OS may expand to the smartphone business.
The US' blunt breach of the agreement reached between China and US top leaders during the G20 summit in late June has cast a shadow on the resumption of Android OS supply. As such, some media reported that Huawei is continuing to carry out tests on smartphones loaded with the HongMeng OS despite downplaying the system's use in smartphones.
In fact one source is claiming that "The new Huawei phones with the HongMeng system will debut in the market in the fourth quarter, with up to several million units in stock. It is expected that the smartphone will show up along with the Huawei Mate30 series.
The source further disclosed that unlike the Android system, which is based on the Linux kernel, Huawei's idea of developing HongMeng is similar to Google's Fuchsia OS - based on a microkernel, can better accommodate artificial intelligence (AI) and can run on multiple platforms."
The report mentioned a new line of Huawei smartphones in the US$288 price point using the new OS, a price point that Xiaomi is aiming for as well as highlighted in a new review of the Xiaomi phone on Unboxed Therapy yesterday as presented below. These kinds of smartphones will put pressure on Apple's mid-range phone pricing in China.
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