Finally, it’s here. Hongmeng OS, or Harmony OS, has been confirmed by Chinese tech giant, Huawei, amidst the continued threat of losing access to Google’s Android operating system. But the OS won’t be used on Huawei’s smartphones—not yet, anyway.
Instead, the operating system will be launched later this year for its Smart Screen TVs, while the next 3 years should see the OS make its way to other smart devices such as wearables (smartwatches, fitness trackers).
The OS is claimed to be faster and safer than Android, and is primarily aimed at IoT devices rather than smartphones. That said, it remains as a backup plan should Huawei ever lose access to Google’s Android OS.
Richard Yu, Huawei’s Consumer Business Group CEO, explained:
“If you’re asking when will we apply this to the smartphone, we can do it at any time. However, if we cannot use it (Android) in the future, we can immediately switch to the Harmony OS.”
The situation with Huawei and the U.S. government remains a little confusing, but it seems that the Chinese company is still blacklisted on the U.S. Department of Commerce blacklisted entities. In fact, the Chinese foreign ministry reportedly labeled the blacklisting of Huawei and other Chinese companies to be a blatant “abuse of state power”, although U.S. President Trump earlier appeared to lift the ban on Huawei after the G20 Summit.
While Huawei Malaysia’s Country Director for Consumer Business also previously told us that Huawei will continue to support Android on its smartphones, the 3-month exemption period granted by the U.S. government to the Chinese tech company ends next week.
As such, it’s clear that Harmony OS is positioned as a Plan B by the Chinese company, although Huawei says that current plans are for other smart devices. But when a high-ranking official like Richard Yu says that Huawei can “immediately” push Harmony OS to their smartphones if they can’t use Android, it seems like a statement of intent.