At its HDC developer conference, Huawei announced that the first Huawei smartphones will be equipped with Harmony OS as early as next year – a frontal attack on Android and iOS.
We all know about the position in which Huawei has been put by the US government and have reported and speculated often enough about how the company will fare. The Chinese by no means lapse into shock, but rather show at the Huawei Developer Conference how to imagine the future.
The smartphone should be an important part of this future even without US technologies and without Google services. Even if the situation is currently very bad, you at Huawei are sure that you will get the cart pulled out of the dirt again. In order for this to work, you have to detach yourself from Android according to your own assessment.
The right arrow that Huawei has in its quiver for this is called Harmony OS and has long been known as an Android alternative.
Huawei basically devised this system for the Internet of Things, but it was already mentioned last year that an ecosystem was envisaged in which this operating system should also find its way on smartphones and tablets.
So far you can only find Harmony OS on a handful of televisions, but according to the latest statements that should change as early as next year.
Huawei’s smartphone boss Richard Yu said that the OS, which so far only supports hardware with very manageable RAM, will support devices with up to 4 GB of RAM as early as next year – and the way is clear for smartphones and tablets with Harmony Equip OS.
He announced these devices for 2021 but did not let anyone know whether there would be a hard change or whether a dual-boot version might not be used for the transition. We also do not know whether the date will initially apply to the domestic market in China or internationally.
It is clear, however, that Harmony OS will initially only take place on entry-level models. But here, too, we are looking into the not too distant future and then want to equip premium smartphones with Harmony OS.
Huawei’s strategy with Harmony OS is based on two pillars: On the one hand, the OS will be universal, i.e. it will be applicable across all devices.
Harmony OS should be used on smartphones and tablets, but also on wearables, televisions, and refrigerators. On the other hand, Harmony OS is open source and Huawei has great hopes that other companies will join in to become part of the Harmony OS ecosystem.
If that succeeds, which does not seem so unrealistic at least for the domestic market, one could actually establish oneself as a third force alongside Android and iOS. There are already reports of more than 800 partners who have been won for Harmony OS and developer kits for smartphones are to be delivered by the end of this year.
About a year later, Huawei hopes that the first Harmony smartphones will be ready to go.
At the moment the picture is still rather diffuse and we cannot easily guess how successful Huawei will be in this way. There are still too many variables that we don’t yet know – for example, we don’t know how Huawei will decide if they should be able to rely fully on Android again.
It also fits that the HDC also showed its EMUI software in a new, improved version and is therefore definitely still planning with Android, at least in the medium term.
I recently hinted at it in another article about Huawei: Should Huawei actually establish its own ecosystem here, which at least many Chinese manufacturers jump on, the US President would have scored an own goal, which would have been fatal even for his standards and US tech -Bubble is likely to be heavy in the stomach.