Huawei Could Use Russian Tech to Replace Android in Smartphones: Source

Chinese telecom company Huawei is seeking alternatives to keep its smartphones working after U.S. tech giant Google cut the company off its Android operating system, a source close to negotiations between Huawei and the Russian government told TASS news agency.

Last month, the Trump administration banned Google and a number of U.S. tech companies from dealing with China’s telecommunication major Huawei and other Chinese corporations. The direct order by U.S. President Donald Trump bans American firms from supplying Huawei with spare parts or technology solutions. The step was reportedly implemented amid security concerns after Washington accused Chinese tech companies of spying on behalf of Beijing.

The Chinese corporation is negotiating a replacement for Android with the Aurora operating system, currently being developed by Moscow-based firm Russian Mobile Platform, Russian news outlet the Bell reports, citing an official familiar with the issue.

“Aurora was not the only item for discussion. An ecosystem of Russian software was offered to Huawei at large: social media, search engine, antiviruses, and so on,” the source said.

The Russian Telecom Ministry neither confirmed nor denied this information. The Ministry noted at the same time that it is working on the promotion of Russian producers on international markets on a going basis. Huawei was not available for comment.

Huawei Chairman Guo Ping reportedly discussed the possible deal with the Russian minister of digital development and communications, Konstantin Noskov, ahead of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

“China is already testing devices with the Aurora pre-installed,” the official said.

Moreover, the subject was addressed during an official meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Chinese leader Xi Jinping the day before the business event. The two presidents reportedly discussed both an opportunity of installing the Aurora operating system on Huawei smartphones and localization of some of Huawei’s production facilities in Russia.