In a far-reaching interview with Le Point in France, Ren Zhengfei - Huawei's CEO and founder - revealed a few more details behind its HongMeng operating system, and how it sees itself competing with Apple and Google. 

We reached out to Huawei for an English transcript of the full interview and it revealed some interesting facts.

As well as answering questions on security and the current trade ban with US companies, its relationship with Europe, philosophical writers and political ideology, Huawei's chief spoke about how it sees itself using the so-called "plan b" operating system

In this interview, Zhengfei answered questions specifically on "Hongmeng OS". 

For the longest time, rumours have been that Huawei is developing Hongmeng as a backup, just in case its relationship with Google can't be reconciled and it will never be able to use Android again. 

But, the truth is that Hongmeng OS is not being developed to replace Google's operating system. He said that "it's not designed for phones as everyone thinks". 

While it's possible that Huawei could build a smartphone interface on top of its Hongmeng OS, that's not its primary purpose. It was originally designed to ensure telecommunications networks ran properly. 

With its 5ms latency, it's suited to IOT environments - or autonomous cars - where information, commands and responses need to flow quickly. 

The purpose of the operating system "is to enable a world where everything is connected and intelligent", and has the potential to even reduce the latency further to below 1ms in the future.  

For the consumer though, it's on smartphones that it could be implemented more obviously. However, Huawei still hopes it doesn't ever come to that.  

In the past, the company has made no secret of the fact that it wants to continue working with partners like Google and Microsoft, building devices to run on Android and Windows, respectively.

There's good reason for that: it doesn't have a strong enough alternative to compete with the App Store or the Google Play Store on mobile. That's a narrative that repeats in this interview. 

As things stand, Hongmeng OS doesn't have an ecosystem built around it. It's just a technical system for operating networks. And so "it will take many years" to build an ecosystem that comes close to replicating that.

As things stand, it may not even come to having to put this backup plan in place on mobile. The most recent update suggested the US was backing down on its trade ban and that Huawei may be able to work with its American partners again. 

Huawei didn't have anything further comment to make on that in the discussion, except to say that Trump's continued comments are actually good for business. Since the US president seemed to relax the countries stance on the company, Huawei has seen sales increase due to the publicity.

So, it could be that we eventually see Hongmeng employed in other devices instead. As Huawei originally intended.

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