Huawei has officially announced HarmonyOS, the operating system it was rumored to be developing to replace its reliance on Android. In China, the software will be known as Hongmeng. The company says the operating system, a microkernel-based distributed OS, can be used in everything from smartphones to smart speakers, wearables, and in-vehicle systems to create a shared ecosystem across devices. The operating system will be released as an open-source platform worldwide to encourage adoption.
There’s been a lot of speculation about Huawei’s in-house operating system ever since Google suspended the company’s Android license back in May, following the US government’s decision to put Huawei on the Entity List. Huawei has made no secret of the fact that it’s been working on its own OS, but the extent to which it would be able to act as a substitute for Android is unclear.
A modularized #HarmonyOS can be nested to adapt flexibly to any device to create a seamless cross-device experience. Developed via the distributed capability kit, it builds the foundation of a shared developer ecosystem — Huawei Mobile (@HuaweiMobile) August 9, 2019
Huawei plans to launch HarmonyOS on “smart screen products” later this year, before expanding it to work on other devices, like wearables, over the next three years. The first of these products will be the Honor Smart Screen, which is due to be unveiled on Saturday. Huawei has yet to explicitly say what constitutes a “smart screen” device, but Reuters previously reported that the OS would appear on a range of Honor smart TVs. The focus for the operating system will be products for the Chinese market at first, before Huawei expands it to other markets.
In a statement, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, Richard Yu, says that HarmonyOS is “completely different from Android and iOS” because of its ability to scale across different kinds of devices. “You can develop your apps once, then flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices,” the CEO says.
Previously, it’s been unclear whether HarmonyOS would be an operating system for smartphones or for Internet of Things devices. It now appears that it’s designed to power both, similar to Google’s experimental Fuchsia operating system, which is designed to run on various form-factors.
Since placing Huawei on the Entity List, the Trump administration has indicated that it’s willing to ease the restrictions on the company. In July, senior officials said that the administration would grant licenses to deal with Huawei in instances where national security wouldn’t be impacted. However, yesterday, Bloomberg reported that the White House is delaying its decision about issuing these licenses in the wake of China’s decision to halt purchases of US farming goods. It’s yet another suggestion that the Huawei restrictions have as much to do with the US-China trade war as they do with protecting national security.
They’ll force it to work in China. If the ban isn’t lifted you’ll see stories in 4/5 years about how Harmony is the #1 OS in China.
Well done, Huawei. We will see what happens next. My guess is that Google’s Pichai will call Trump this weekend.
I don’t think we’ll be using HarmonyOS here anytime soon but if it can run android apps it should proliferate in China as apps there have always run without playstore services. Once perfected Huawei phones will make a comeback. At least in Europe, US might still ban the hardware
There are plenty of Google-free smartphones in China already (running open source Android).
Android apps can be ported into HarmonyOS easily. Very excited!
Oh comrade, calm down, this is not the third mobile OS ever created.
Even if the ban is lifted, the ZTE/Huawei ban has already alerted the Chinese government to stop relying too much on foreign technologies.
if it’s REALLY open source and will find serious adopters outside of China, this might be interesting.
I’m intrigued- but can’t see myself swapping to another OS at this stage- I have a lot invested in Android apps and without Play Store compatibility it seems unlikely that apps you purchased on one platform would come across to another – the reality here is that "compatibility" means free apps will easily move across
With that said, it’s great to see competition in this area of the market as the technology and security goals of these new OS designs could lead to significant changes in the years to come (true sandboxing of apps, easier updates, better battery performance, etc)
I don’t see it doing well in Western nations as there is currently a severe trust issue with any software made in China, but it likely will become the 3rd or even 2nd most popular OS in developing countries if mid/low-end phones run more smoothly on it.
I’m kind of glad this is happening as it will hopefully spur some new innovation through competition and maybe even offer more price options.
What’s stupid here? Huawei have been banned from using Android as their OS. So now they make their own OS.
Did you expect them to just shut down their business and go home?
Pichai will be laughing this weekend, more likely.
Apple does follow Chinese rules. Like iCloud in China being managed by a local data company.
The big problem with these bans is that everything today in produced in China. If this HarmonyOS is close enough to Android, all Chinese Android OEMs may choose to ship their phones with Harmony and avoid all the headache with Trump
they’re launching mate 30 pro later this year with this OS
他们将在今年晚些时候推出mate 30 pro操作系统
This OS may gain traction in China. But I doubt it will be used elsewhere, especially in US and Europe
The question is not if Facebook can get on Harmony’s app store, the question is can users install the Play Store on Harmony, and Huawei has already said it’s backward compatible with existing Android apps.
If HarmonyOS runs android apps, it likely wouldn’t matter. Developers wouldn’t be developing for Harmony, instead HarmonyOS would basically be hijacking Android apps.
I’m already looking for a way to get Google to stop spying on me. Why would I want to let China start spying on me?
If it’s open source then their can’t be any backdoors in the OS.
If it runs android or at least 95% of all android software it can easily become the target OS to write for.
US tech companies not being able to sell in China is not an issue. That’s how it is right now basically.
The issue is if this OS starts to bleed in to the rest of the world due to it having the backing of Chinese software companies that can provide replacements for google services.
In the end I don’t think google are that bothered because the reason for android is to stop companies like Microsoft or Apple stopping them from collecting data. However if Huewai and China actually become stronger from this whole trump attack you do wonder what the point of this whole ban was. Or at least trumps guys have not thought things trough enough.
It sounds like they’ll at the very least need to recompile to run – which likely means that running the original android apps will be out of the question without the original developer rebuilding the app.
We need a third mobile OS, it’s as simple as that. Duopoly is not good for the future. Or rather it’s a monopoly, there is no option apart from Android when it comes to non-Apple world. Competition is always good for the consumers.
Google is loosing literally 50% of their customer base, since HarmonyOS will no longer have Google apps installed by default.
If I were Google I would be worried and have talks with Donald Trump to make peace with Huawei.
In few years, Xiaomi, Oppo, Hinsense and other chinese hardware OEMs will put Harmony OS on their devices which will make Google market shrink even further.
They don’t need those apps for the most part. In China ,their app consumption is very different from us.
Get a WeChat port and you have a sellable Chinese phone.
I thought most Android phones in China have never had Google apps in the first place. Google is not a major player in China .
Thank goodness I am Canadian and don’t need to support either country. Also thank goodness American companies aren’t legally required to be a government puppet and can do things that ire the government.No country is perfect but China is a whole lot less perfect.
To be fair, this can happen in the US as well. It requires more work, but the US Government can force a US company to give access to information(Regardless of where it’s hosted) and force that company to not disclose doing so thanks to the Patriot Act.
It’s why the use of US based cloud services can’t be considered "secure" by default.
And this is how innovation starts. Out of necessity.
They don’t need a new OS in China. They already have one there: Google free Android Open Source.
Huawei needs an OS that can succeed in Western markets. And they can’t do this without support for essential apps that are affected by the ban.