Huawei is allegedly in talks with Russian operating system Aurora on approximately 360,000 of its tablets, in order to carry out Russia’s population census in 2020, two anonymous sources told Reuters.
“This is a pilot project. We see it as the first stage of launching the Russian OS on Huawei devices,” the first source said. Essentially, the census would be a test-phase of both the Russian Aurora OS, which isn’t widely installed on any devices, as well as a test-phase of collaboration.
Aurora is owned by telecommunications firm Rostelecom, which in turn is controlled by the Russian state. Rostelecom is also in charge of selecting the tablets that will be used for the census, and confirmed that there are plans for collaboration with Huawei.
“Various options for collaboration with Huawei are currently being considered with participation of the Ministry of Communications… We don’t disclose details yet, there is an agreement on confidentiality,” Rostelecom said in a written reply.
On the side of Huawei there’s been no official confirmation, but the second anonymous source said that its being looked into.
“Huawei is interested in the project. It showed samples of tablets that could be used,” the second source said.
On August 21st, Huawei said the U.S. trade restrictions could cut its smartphone unit’s revenue by about $10 billion this year, as well as it would cost $1 billion for the US to replace equipment.
The order to rip and replace Huawei equipment is going to cost rural operators more than $1 billion. Joy Tan talks #5G security with @RCRWirelessNews. https://t.co/4akFy4Oa7o pic.twitter.com/fHSkJ6PbVB
— HuaweiUSA (@HuaweiUSA) August 21, 2019
Huawei reportedly paid as much as $11 billion to US component suppliers in 2018 according to Reuters.
The Trump administration placed Huawei on the Commerce Department’s Entity List earlier this year amid ruckus in the U.S. intelligence community that the company poses a national security threat and could be engaged in espionage.
Department of Commerce Announces the Addition of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to the Entity List https://t.co/m89LRXAata
— U.S. Commerce Dept. (@CommerceGov) May 16, 2019
On July 9th, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that his department “will issue licences where there is no threat to US national security.” However, he clarified that “Huawei itself remains on the Entity List, and the announcement does not change the scope of items requiring licenses.”
The news that Huawei and Rostelecom plan to collaborate isn’t new, in early June 2019, there were news that Huawei may get help from Rostelecom and Russian businessman Grigory Berezkin, who own the developer of the Russian mobile OS Aurora, created on the basis of the Finnish Sailfish.
Two anonymous sources who were aware of the situation claimed that prior to the St. Petersburg Forum, Huawei’s chief executive officer Guo Ping discussed the possible transition of Chinese smartphones to Sailfish with the minister of digital development and communications, Konstantin Noskov.
According to a separate unnamed source, the topic was raised at the meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Two things were reportedly discussed:
- The installation of the Aurora OS (the Russian version of the Finnish Sailfish) on various types of devices of the Chinese company. According to one of the sources, Huawei was already testing devices with Aurora installed on them;
- The second topic is the localization of production of some parts for Huawei’s devices in Russia. It reportedly comes down to a joint production of chips and software.
If this, most recent report by Reuters proves true, then that means the older unnamed sources are also substantiated and that Huawei may, in fact, collaborate with Rostelecom.
At least until it develops its homemade operating system.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Huawei In Discussions To Install Rostelecom’s Aurora OS On Its Devices: Media
- “Invisible Hand of the Market”: Google Restricts Huawei’s Access to Android
- Trump Signs Executive Order Banning Huawei From US Market