Huawei’s new MateBooks running on Linux in China

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TROUBLED TECH TITAN Huawei has had a fairly lousy year so far, and as yet, there’s no end in sight.

Fortunately, Huawei is taking some decisive action, at least in China, as it widens the appeal of its near-universally acclaimed MateBook series of laptops with a range powered by Linux.

The last MateBook launch in the US was cancelled following the decision to add Huawei to the so-called “Entity List” of companies banned from trading with the US without a special licence.

Up until then, the Shenzhen company had been churning out some of the best laptops of the last few years, and now, the MateBook 13 is available running a lovely shiny Linux distro.

Specifically, its a well-thought-of version called Deepin, also Chinese made. Physically, it’s identical to its Windows running brethren, save for the Windows key, now marked “start” and a price point slightly (about £35 slightly) lower than the Windows edition.

The DeepIn powered versions are currently only available in China, direct from Huawei’s vMail portal.

It could be part of an existing strategy, part of the preparations to switch away from US-based operating systems or whether its a way of using up unsold hardware stock from the aborted US launch. We may never know.

It’s unlikely that we’ll see them in this form further afield. Although Linux is by its very nature open-source, DeepIn is based in mainland China and that tends to put the same bristles on the back of your neck that the mention of Huawei does right now – at least for some people. But who knows, if they go down well, maybe we’ll see an Ubuntu or Mint edition over here, somewhere down the line.

The news comes as the world waits to find out if Huawei will be able to launch its next flagship phone, the Mate 30 series, with a full Google version of Android, and therefore be able to offer the Google Play Store and its core range of apps. With days to go, it doesn’t look good for Huawei

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Chocha Writer is our roving and much read resident writer. He will write on several topics. Contact him on chochakenya@gmail.com or 0772 808 931