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Huawei officially launches Android alternative HarmonyOS for smartphones – TechCrunch

Think you’re living in a hyper-connected world? Huawei’s proprietary HarmonyOS wants to eliminate delays and gaps in user experience when you move from one device to another by adding interoperability to all devices, regardless of the system that powers them. Two years after Huawei was added to the U.S. entity list that banned the Chinese telecom giant from accessing U.S. technologies, including core chipsets and Android developer services from Google, Huawei’s alternative smartphone operating system was unveiled.

On Wednesday, Huawei officially launched its proprietary operating system HarmonyOS for mobile phones. The firm started building the operating system in 2016 and letting developers create HarmonyOS-compatible applications for tablets, electric vehicles, and smartwatches last September. Its flagship devices, such as Mate 40, could upgrade to HarmonyOS starting Wednesday, with the operating system gradually rolling out on lower-end models in the coming quarters.


HarmonyOS is not meant to replace Android or iOS, Huawei said. Instead, its application is more far-reaching, powering not just phones and tablets but an increasing number of intelligent devices. To that end, Huawei has been attracting hardware and home appliance manufacturers to join its ecosystem. To date, more than 500,000 developers are building applications based on HarmonyOS. It’s unclear whether Google, Facebook, and other mainstream apps in the West are working on HarmonyOS versions.

Some Chinese tech firms have answered Huawei’s call. Smartphone maker Meizu hinted on its Weibo account that its smart devices might adopt HarmonyOS. Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi are more significant players than Meizu and are probably more reluctant to embrace a rival’s operating system. Huawei’s goal is to collapse all HarmonyOS-powered devices into one single control panel, which can remotely pair the Bluetooth connections of headphones and a TV. A game played on a phone can be continued seamlessly on a tablet. A smart soymilk blender can customize a drink based on the health data gleaned from a user’s smartwatch.

A recent job posting from Apple mentioned a seemingly new concept, homes, which may have to do with Apple’s smart home strategy, as noted by MacRumors. Devices not already on HarmonyOS can communicate with Huawei devices with a simple plug-in. Photos from a Windows-powered laptop can be saved directly onto a Huawei phone if the computer has the HarmonyOS plug-in installed. That raises the question of whether Android or even iOS could, one day, talk to HarmonyOS through a common language. The HarmonyOS launch arrived days before Apple’s annual developer event scheduled for next week.

Huawei denied speculations that HarmonyOS is a derivative of Android and said no single line of code is identical to Android. A spokesperson for Huawei declined to say whether the operating system is based on Linux, the kernel that powers Android. Several tech giants have tried to introduce their mobile operating systems, to no avail. Alibaba built AliOS based on Linux but has long stopped updating it. Samsung flirted with its own Tizen, but the operating system is limited to powering a few Internet of Things, like smart TVs.

Huawei may have a better shot at drumming up developer interest than its predecessors. It’s still one of China’s largest smartphone brands despite losing a chunk of its market after the U.S. government cut it off from critical chip suppliers, which could hamper its ability to make cutting-edge phones. HarmonyOS also has a chance to create an alternative for developers who are disgruntled with Android if Huawei can capture their needs. The U.S. sanctions do not block Huawei from using Android’s open-source software, which major Chinese smartphone makers use to build their third-party Android operating system. But the ban was like a death knell for Huawei’s overseas consumer markets as its phones lose access to Google Play services. The article was updated with more context for HarmonyOS.

Gemma Broadhurst
I am a writer by profession, and I love to write in my spare time. I am one of the most experienced writer for newspriest. I always make sure that whatever is written on my blog is 100% genuine and true. I am a University of Florida graduate pursuing a Master's degree.

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