China’s Huawei Technologies said that it will launch its new Harmony operating system for smartphones on June 2. This is its biggest move yet aimed at recovering from the damage done by U.S. sanctions to its mobile phone business.
The use of its own operating system will mean that it will no longer be reliant on Android. U.S. sanctions banned Google from providing technical support to new Huawei phone models. And also access to Google Mobile Services. These are the bundle of developer services upon which most of the Android apps are based. The launch of new smartphones or any updates for existing phones or any other rollout was not clear in its statements.
The new HarmonyOS will only go some way to mitigating the impact of the 2019 sanctions. That has barred Huawei from accessing critical U.S. origin technology. This has impeded its ability to design its own chips and source components from outside vendors. Huawei was once the world’s biggest smartphone and now it is in the 6th place globally. In the first quarter it has 4% market share.
The previous Trump administration argued that the Chinese telecommunications giant posed a threat to U.S. national security, a charge that Huawei has denied. According to an internal memo, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei called on the staffs to dare to lead the world in software in a bid to move into business areas that can’t be affected by U.S. sanctions. The company said that it will need to take a more open-source approach to development. It should also try to attract more software experts from overseas as part of the pivot.