Published: Fri, August 09, 2019
IT | By Lester Massey

Huawei's New Operating System Unveiled: HarmonyOS

Huawei's New Operating System Unveiled: HarmonyOS

"You can develop your apps once, then flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices", said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group at the company's developer conference in China. The company confirmed that the OS will be locked, i.e, users won't have root-level access which the company deems is a security hazard on Linux based OSes like Android.

But Huawei said that for now it would stick to using Google's Android for smartphones, and the new software will be gradually rolled out to support devices such as smartwatches, speakers and virtual reality gadgets. Huawei said it can migrate to Harmony OS in 1-2 days but chooses not to do so out of respect for the current partners who rely on Android.

In May the company was swept into the deepening trade war between Beijing and Washington which has seen punitive tariffs slapped on billions of dollars of two-way trade.

The operating system, which Huawei started working on two years ago, will be open source software and aims to be safer and more efficient than existing ones in the market, he said. While the USA administration made a decision to soften its tone towards the Chinese technology producer and allow it to work with USA partners again, the company is still hanging in limbo. It will not appear on phones yet as Huawei says it is still sticking to Android.

Huawei claims that with the rise of the IoT device, a more efficient operating system is needed.

Yu told German newspaper Die Welt in an interview published in March that creating their own operating system was "Plan B". The device will come from Huawei's sub-brand Honor. For now, it's mainly meant to run on devices other than smartphones. Through a "shared developer ecosystem", cross-platform development should be easily achievable. Apart from Google's Android, the only other popular operating system is Apple's iOS, available exclusively on the iPhone.

Huawei has already expressed confidence the P20 Pro will be granted EMUI 10 running on top of Android Q, it is just unclear when this will happen.

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