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(Pocket-lint) - Huawei has been testing a smartphone running Hongmeng OS, with a possible plan to launch the device before the end of the year. 

The report comes from Chinese state media, Global Times (via Reuters) and adds a little more uncertainty to exactly what Huawei's plans are for its home-baked operating system. 

Rather than it be a flagship premium smartphone like the P-series and Mate series devices, this particular phone is rumoured to fit in the budget end of the market.

Its sub-$300 rumoured price point certainly makes it feel a little more experimental than its usual phones, and perhaps indicates less risk if the bet doesn't pay off. Perhaps also indicating that confidence isn't sky high with this in house software. 

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The Hongmeng OS story is one with many strings, seemingly tangled and leading in various directions, almost certainly because the relationship between the US and China is leaving Huawei in an uncertain position. 

Huawei has stated - more than once - that its preference is to continue working with Android and US companies to build its smartphones. After all, it can't hope to compete with the ecosystems of Apple or Google, and would take many years to come close to that level.

More recently, it stated that Hongmeng was originally designed as an operating system for managing its network infrastructure and is ideal for IOT/smart home systems due to its extreme low latency and speed. 

In fact, it's been rumoured it could launch in a consumer smart screen first, or smart TV, before it launches in other devices. 

It wasn't envisioned as being a platform for smartphones, but with the trade war between the US and China, and Huawei subsequently being unable to work with American companies, it's seemingly forced the manufacturer to start work on its own OS, in case the worst comes to pass and the ban lasts permanently. 

One other factor making this plan difficult to follow is the contradictory comments from the White House. One week, the licenses have been restored and things can carry on as normal, and the next week it's flipped and Huawei is yet again unable to work with US companies. 

Through this flip-flopping, Huawei has remained fairly tight-lipped, not confirming either way until there's an official permanent solution. 

Whatever happens, we'll keep you up to date as the story develops. 

Writing by Cam Bunton. Originally published on 5 August 2019.