According to SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) Huawei Technologies plans to introduce its long rumoured Harmony operating system, seen as the company’s best bet to replace Google’s Android mobile operating system, on smartphones next year, the head of its consumer business group said on Thursday.

This comment was made at the company’s annual developers conference in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan by Richard Yu. He also said that the company had a 2.0 version of the system that it first unveiled last year, and that it planned to open to developers a beta version for smartphones in December.

In May last year, in addition to Huawei on the US entity list, Google discontinued the bundle of developer services, providing technical support for new Huawei phone models that use Android, and from Google Mobile Services (GMS), developer services upon which most Android apps are based.

As a result of this the company has been experiencing a decline in sales of foreign smartphones, although domestic sales subsequently rose. Yu said the company shipped 240 million smartphones last year, which gave it a second-place market ranking, but the lack of software in recent months hurt the company.

Huawei has billed Harmony as an multi-device platform across watches, laptops and mobiles, rather than as a like-for-like challenger to Google’s Android mobile operating system.

Huawei's Harmony OS Coming on Smartphones

In August the U.S. expanded earlier restrictions aimed at preventing Huawei from obtaining semiconductors without a special license; including chips made by foreign firms that have been developed or produced with U.S. software or technology.

Analysts said the restrictions threaten Huawei’s crown as the world’s largest smartphone maker, a ranking it gained this year, and that its smartphone business would disappear entirely if it could not source chipsets. However, Yu did not comment on the topic during his speech.

The HarmonyOS, according to the company is a microkernel-based distributed OS, which can be used in everything from smartphones to smart speakers, wearables, and in-vehicle systems to create a shared ecosystem across devices.

Huawei promised to make a beta version of the HarmonyOS 2.0 SDK available to developers today, though it’ll initially only support smartwatches, car head units, and TVs. A smartphone version of the SDK will follow in December 2020, and Yu hinted that phones running HarmonyOS might appear next year.

The company is also kicking off its OpenHarmony project, which allows developers to build upon an open-source version of the OS, similar to what AOSP is to Android. As of today the project only supports devices with 128MB of RAM or below, but that’ll expand to 4GB in April of next year, and the memory limit will be removed completely by October 2021.

Either way, Huawei is proving to be stronger than anticipated and can take up any challenge try its way and still come out victorious, hence the question is can it take on the long time existing Android OS.


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