Announcing the latest version of HarmonyOS, Huawei on Thursday said that smartphones with its indigenously built operating system can be expected next year. When the Trump administration banned the Chinese firm from using American technology or services previous year, Huawei had no other option than to develop its own mobile OS as an alternative.
Breaking away from Android altogether will let Huawei develop its own app store and ecosystem for its smartphones, which could be a smart move in the long run given the uncertain state of affairs Huawei finds itself in at the moment.
Although Huawei's Harmony OS will be accepted in China smoothly, it's hard to imagine how they will convince smartphone makers and sellers from other countries to use Harmony. But the company has already stopped loading the Google Play Store and other key Google apps on its phones, and U.S. restrictions are stopping Google from even releasing updates for older Huawei phones that shipped prior to the trade ban.
In addition to the new version, the Chinese brand (which is in a kind of blacklist imposed by the USA), will also launch the OpenHarmony project, which allows programmers to work on an open source version of the operating system.
Americans probably won't ever see Harmony OS; the U.S. has repeatedly stymied attempts by Huawei to do business and sell products in the country, citing national security. This may force it to relax the regulations in the near future, experts said. After Sept. 15, it will lose nearly all access to partners like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which has been making Huawei's Kirin processors.
BCG warned that if shipments of USA chips and chipmaking equipment to China were stopped, and China were to ban imports of U.S. electronics and software, it could cost United States companies 37 percent of their annual sales.
Huawei said the mobile applications integrated with HMS so far have exceeded 96,000.
Huawei could still manage to ship 195 million smartphones this year but the number could plunge to 50 million next year if the USA regulation did not change, according to a GF Securities estimate. Huawei also said that a beta version of its operating system would be available to developers, and for smartwatches, TVs, and in-car head units starting from September 10 and for smartphones in December. "It's a tough journey but Huawei must go through it to survive and thrive".
Huawei also plans to open-source the Harmony OS.
Huawei's ecosystem is working in the Chinese mainland market.
"Some Chinese companies don't like building tools".