Huawei announces new OS for phones and devices

August 09, 2019 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Huawei announces new OS for phones and devices
In response to restrictions imposed by the US, Huawei has announced its long-rumoured home grown OS – called HarmonyOS (or HongmengOS in Chinese). HarmonyOS is a microkernel-based distributed OS for all platforms including mobile phones, wearables, laptops, and televisions.

Huawei says that the HarmonyOS is suitable for use for smartphones, tablets, smart-speakers and even a variety of IoT devices. Tough it has long been known that Huawei has been developing an in-house OS, this announcement sends a signal that Huawei is preparing to control its own destiny and is prepared in the event that US-China tensions result in Huawei being denied access to further developments in Android.

Based on a modularised concept, HarmonyOS can be nested and adapted flexibly to any device to create a seamless cross-device experience. A distributed capability kit allows developers to build the foundation of a shared developer ecosystem. Claiming a world first, HarmonyOS will have a verified TEE (Trusted Execution Environment), significantly improving connected security across multiple smart devices in a connected all-scenario world.

Currently, Huawei phones ship with Android installed. HarmonyOS is a compact, microkernel-based OS that will first be targeted at smart devices like smart watches, smart screens, in-vehicle systems, and smart speakers. However, smartphone installs are expected in the short term.

A key issue facing Huawei is that HarmonyOS does not have the sheer number of apps that Android and IoS boast. Seeding the apps available for the new OS and getting developers on-board to create a rival ecosystem to Android and iOS is the most likely step before HarmonyOS is rolled out to smartphones. Even though HarmonyOS will be able to run Android apps, a homegrown ecosystem will drive market share and ease-of-use, and enable apps to benefit from the from the underlying technoloy advancements in the new OS.

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