Huawei HarmonyOS Is Bid to Replace Android and U.S. Tech
Huawei took the wraps off its HarmonyOS, offering the first glimpses of in-house software that may someday replace Android and reduce its reliance on American technology, according to Bloomberg.
To begin with, the open-source software will skip smartphones and instead find its way into everything from cars and watches to personal computers by 2020, Richard Yu, chief executive of the consumer business said during a launch event. Earbuds and virtual reality goggles will follow. Huawei is considering running the OS on its upcoming flagship Mate 30, he told reporters.
“Because we support Google’s Android ecosystem, we will prioritize Android for smartphones. If we can’t use Android, we can install HarmonyOS quickly,” Yu said at Huawei’s developers conference in Dongguan. “We had a great chance to become the world’s biggest vendor by shipment if not for the trade war.”
HarmonyOS, previously code-named “Hongmeng” or “Ark,” is an important part of Huawei’s effort to develop alternatives in response to sanctions on American technology it needs to make its gear. “Our HarmonyOS is more powerful and secure than Android, and it has greater distributed capability and is future-facing,” Yu said. “Can HarmonyOS be installed on smartphones? Of course.”
For HarmonyOS to work, Huawei will need developers to build apps for its ecosystem, a major question mark around its fledgling software. Last year, it spent at least 500 million yuan ($70 million) to lure developers to work on its homegrown OS, and the company may invest more this year, said Yu. “The biggest attraction is our profit-sharing scheme. We may only keep 10% of the app profits and leave the rest to developers,” he said.
To help with app migration, HarmonyOS will be built on the Linux and Huawei’s own LiteOS kernels for now, Yu said, which will change in future generations of the OS. Huawei is delaying the release of its first foldable smartphone Mate X because of “production volume issues”. Yu warned buyers may have to wait until November for the long-awaited product. The postponement is a major blow for the Chinese company, which is battling Samsung and Apple in the global smartphone market.