Huawei unveils HarmonyOS for smartphones and smart home devices

Chinese tech giant Huawei unveiled its new in-house developed HarmonyOS, which is the company’s alternative to Google’s Android mobile operating system. The highly anticipated Huawei’s own mobile OS is the same that was being talked about as HongMeng OS, its Chinese name.

harmonyos

Announced at the Huawei Developers Conference, Richard Yu, the head of Huawei’s consumer business, said that this new operating system would “bring more harmony and convenience to the world”. He also claimed that this new operating system is a “future-oriented OS” and is meant to be more smooth and secure and also claimed that it’s completely different from Android and iOS.

This is a crucial step for the Chinese giant as it is trying to reduce its reliance on US-based companies. Soon after the US ban, Huawei confirmed that it had been working on an Android alternative as it anticipated the threat of losing access to Android systems amid escalating US-China trade tensions.

HarmonyOS is the first microkernel-based distributed operating system for all scenarios and was created with four major building blocks in mind, ensuring a new generation OS that is best suited for the digital world today. The HarmonyOS microkernel can be scaled on demand for wider system security. It does away with root access to protect system security from the source compared to Android.

harmonyos-timeline

Developed using the distributed capability kit, it builds the foundation of a shared developer ecosystem. The OS uses HUAWEI ARK Compiler with support for app development in multiple languages (Kotlin, Java, Javascript, C, and C++). Huawei also said that the platform will support HTML5, Linux, and Android app compatibility in the future.

The Huawei CEO said that it will take just a day or two to migrate from Google’s Android to the new HarmonyOS if needed, but it will stick to Google’s platform for now. The availability of HarmonyOS will be limited to China, though Huawei has plans to bring it to international markets.

HarmonyOS Roadmap

  • HarmonyOS 1.0 in 2019 — Development for key modules based on the open-source framework and will debut with HONOR Vision Smart TV, set to launch in China on August 10th.
  •  HarmonyOS 2.0 in 2020 — Development for kernel and app framework will support PCs, smartwatches, smart bands, and head units.
  • HarmonyOS 3.0 in 2021 — Optimization in software-hardware synergy and support speakers and headsets
  • HarmonyOS in 2022 — Support VR glasses and other products

The announcement about this new operating system from Huawei comes months after the U.S. government put Huawei and more than 60 affiliates in an entity list, restricting U.S. based companies from conducting businesses with the Chinese giant.