China’s Huawei Technologies launched its Harmony operating system for smartphones, looking to recover from U.S. sanctions that have hobbled its handset business. Huawei will start rolling out HarmonyOS on selected smartphone models. This offers users the chance to switch from the current operating system based on Google’s Android platform.
HarmonyOS use means the company will no longer be wholly reliant on Android. U.S. sanctions banned Alphabet Inc’s Google from providing technical support to new Huawei phone models and access to Google Mobile Services. Huawei is billing HarmonyOS as an ‘Internet-of-Things’ platform. This aims at operating on and connecting other devices such as laptops, smartwatches, cars and appliances. The company has launched new products such as tablet, a smart watch and a stylus, during a video launch from the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen using this HarmonyOS.
Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group ended the presentation with a teaser for the flagship P50 phone, whose spring launch was delayed for reasons that everyone is aware of. Wang Chenglu, president of Huawei Consumer Business Group’s software department said that within this year end Huawei is aiming to have HarmonyOS on 200 million smartphones and 100 million third-party smart devices. He is the one who has led Huawei’s efforts to develop HarmonyOS since 2016.
China’s leading telecommunications equipment maker found itself on a U.S. trade blacklist in May 2019. This is due to national security concerns. Huawei has repeatedly denied it is a risk. Once world’s biggest smartphone company Huawei is now ranked sixth, due to the ban and the immense pressure because of this. Yu said that the company is looking into providing upgrades for some components like batteries for users with older phones. Wang said that there is a need to bridge the gap between devices, with users often having to download separate apps to get things to connect.
Harmony can enable devices to be connected to form a super device. It will work as one file system, literally one device. Wong stated that for Huawei to achieve its ambition, it will be important to get other electronics brands and even automakers onboard for the OS, and China provides a favorable market ecosystem to achieve this.