Reports from Russian media indicate that before the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum representatives from Huawei have met with the Minister of digital development and communications of Russia to discuss the possibility of using Aurora OS on future Huawei smartphones.
Aurora OS is a version of Sailfish OS in majority ownership by Russian state telecom Rostelecom and designated for the Russian market. Aurora OS is the only officially approved OS in Russia for use by government agencies and Russia plans to replace all other devices used by the state with 8 million Aurora-running smartphones in the future.
According to two sources of TheBell, the publication that broke this story, the question of Huawei using Russia’s Aurora OS was raised during the meeting of Russian president Vladimir Putin and China’s president Xi Jinping. The same source mentions that China is already testing devices with Aurora OS and we know from before that Sailfish is officially present in China. Apart from Huawei and other using OS, the discussions also mentioned the possibility of setting up joint ventures in Russia for production of silicone and software.
Report from China’s Global Times published on Monday mentioned that Huawei’s replacement OS for Android called HongMeng is being tested by other Chinese companies, including BBK brands OPPO and VIVO, Xiaomi and the software giant Tencent. HongMeng is reportedly 60% faster than Android and is already installed on one million test devices.
The ongoing trade war is turning out to be a huge catalyst for change in the technology sector. One call also view these reports as warnings or propaganda that Huawei isn’t alone in this situation and if a new OS is adopted by all Chinese OEMs, Android’s dominance on the smartphone market might come in question.
It’s still too early to tell how this story could end. I’m excited for the possibility of Sailfish/AuroraOS gaining more traction and it will be interesting to see how other big global players, like the EU or India will react to the consequences of the ongoing US-China trade dispute.