Huawei has engaged in talks with the Russian government to install Russian operating system (OS) Aurora on 360,000 tablets to be used in next year's census in Russia, according to Reuters.
The Chinese electronics manufacturer has been exploring various alternatives to Google's Android OS after the Trump administration put the world's second-largest smartphone maker on an 'Entity List' which may cut the company off from essential US components used for manufacturing, including Android.
"This is a pilot project. We see it as the first stage of launching the Russian OS on Huawei devices," said one of Reuters' two sources.
A spokeswoman for Huawei confirmed that they are in talks with the Russian Ministry of Communications, but did not elaborate.
Last week, Huawei said the U.S. trade restrictions could cut its smartphone unit’s revenue by about $10 billion this year.
Russia is discussing the use of Aurora OS on 360,000 Huawei tablets by August 2020.
“Huawei is interested in the project. It showed samples of tablets that could be used,” the second source said. Aurora is Russia’s only OS and is not currently being used.
Huawei is also racing to develop an operating system of its own in preparation for the worst-case scenario of being stripped of essential Google Android apps. -Reuters
Russia's state-owned Rostelecom has an exclusive contract for the purchase of tablets to be used in the upcoming population census next October.
"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," Rostelcom told Reuters in a written statement.
In June, The Guardian reported that Huawei had struck a deal with Russian telecom giant MTS to develop a 5G network in Russia - an agreement reportedly signed on the sidelines of a meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow.