Huawei has formally announced the introduction of its new Harmony Operating System. This comes after the company was banned from offering google’s apps and services on its phones owing to the raging trade war between China and America. Known as Hongmen in mainland China, the Microkernel-based OS can be used by across a wide range of devices; from smartphones, wearables, in-vehicle systems and many others. The system is set to be rolled out as soon as 2021 and will come pre-installed on all Huawei devices.
A huge gamble
Plans to launch the new operating system were announced at Huawei’s annual developer conference in Dongguan. The system is set to launch in 2021 but it’s beta version is set to go open source later this year. However, Harmony’s success rests on how fast it will attract developers to make apps for it.
It is without doubt that Huawei is taking a huge gamble with this move. Although it is the world second biggest grossing smartphone maker, it comes nowhere near in making Operating Systems. Android OS accounted for about 85% of all the smartphones shipped in 2019, while the remaining 14% was taken up by Apple’s iOS. Many experts argue that it is highly unlikely for Harmony OS to make it to the mainstream smartphone market. So far several companies have tried and failed terribly; with the latest casualty being Microsoft’s Windows OS. However, Huawei seems to be more determined than ever to end Android and iOS dominance.
Huawei’s “mighty” hand
It would be rather naive to underestimate the might that is Huawei. The company has huge technical and engineering capabilities and is backed by a domestic market of over 2 billion. Furthermore, Harmony OS is fully backed by Beijing. This means that Huawei can use this as leverage to convince companies offering services in China to develop their apps for Harmony OS. However, Huawei’s global ambitions will have to wait a little longer. It is going to be difficult to convince the masses outside china to accept and familiarise themselves with the new operating system.
A complicated outlook
Huawei is probably the biggest victim of the US-china trade war. Many of its suppliers with links to the US are under pressure to cut ties with the company. Starting from September 15, the company will be unable to purchase more of its Kirin processors owing to US restrictions. Samsung and LG have also reported a possibility of discontinuing their sales of OLED displays to the company. American restrictions are biting hard on Huawei, and it will have to think long and hard to develop a counter-strategy. Right now though, all eyes are set on it’s new OS as it takes on two of the smartphone Industry hegemons; Google and Apple. It is definitely going to be interesting to watch this event play out.