According to The Information, right before The US President Donald Trump pulled the plug on Huawei, restricting its access to American tech suppliers, the Chinese company was actively involved in developing a smart speaker in conjunction with Google. The new product would be engraved with Huawei’s logo, but run on Google’s software. However, the companies had to call down the project due to the hostile political environment.
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“We worked on this project with Google for a year and made a lot of progress. Then everything suddenly stopped,” commented a Huawei employee who chose to stay anonymous.
The new speaker, unlike its Chinese competitors Baidu’s Xiaodu and Tmall’s Genie, was targeting the markets outside China, especially the US. The premiere of the product was slated for September at the IFA tech trade show in Berlin. But it had to be canceled after Trump’s crack down on Chinese companies. With a host of privacy issues surrounding smart speakers as a whole, the Huawei and Google product, once released, could give way for more speculations about the integrity of the Chinese company and its business practices.
Both Huawei and Google representatives declined to comment on the issue. Nonetheless, the truthfulness of the smart speaker rumors can hardly be disputed, since both companies have been close partners for years. Huawei’s phones are powered by Google’s Android OS, ad its smartwatches also run on Google developed software for wearable devices.