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Huawei’s First HarmonyOS device is a Smart TV

We’ve gone through this. The Huawei Mate 30 series still comes with Android, although it appears that the smartphone will run on an open-source version of Android 10—that’s to say, without licensed Google apps and services. In the lead-up to the launch, it was sort of a will they, won’t they situation as for Huawei’s Android alternative: HarmonyOS.

Now that Huawei has decided against launching their latest flagship with HarmonyOS—despite claims that the OS was ready to be pushed to smartphones “anytime”—we’ve now gotten a first look at the first device that runs on HarmonyOS. And yes, it’s a Smart TV: the Honor Vision Pro.

Actually, it’s the Honor Vision Pro and the Honor Vision. Both aren’t launched anywhere outside China currently, but Honor tells us that it could come to local markets at some point in the future—nothing guaranteed, however. The main difference between the Honor Vision Pro and the Vision are 4 10W speakers on the non-pro edition (6 on the Pro), as well as the Pro having a 1080p pop-up camera.

So what would a Smart TV do with a pop-up camera, to begin with? Video calls, for a start. We tried making video calls via the TV, which only works with China-registered smartphones for now; that makes sense, given that the Honor Vision hasn’t been launched anywhere outside of China currently. This is all done within the smartphone app, which also allows you to use your supported Huawei smartphone as a remote control for the TV.

Honor says that the Honor Vision Pro, as the first commercial device for the HarmonyOS ecosystem, is meant to be a “multi-device interaction centre”. This means that you can control other IoT devices using the TV, which falls in line with the 1+8+N strategy that Huawei/Honor has been pushing with HarmonyOS (1=smartphones, 8=PCs/tablets/TVs/headphones, N=Smart Home devices).

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To use the Honor Vision, you can opt to use the bundled remote, which looks pretty standard and includes a microphone for voice-commands, or your Huawei/Honor smartphone. That, or you can use voice commands directly to the Smart TV, via Honor’s YOYO assistant. It/he/she only speaks Chinese for now, but its abilities are pretty expected—turn your Smart TV off, play movies, ask for the weather, and so on. The layout, on the other hand, looks pretty simple. However, it’s all in Chinese, with no option to change the OS’ language to English.

At the moment, we don’t know how many apps are available for HarmonyOS, although Honor says that the selection is continually growing. We’re also unsure if ARK Compiler could possibly be used to port Android apps over from Android TV to HarmonyOS, however.

Both the Honor Vision Pro and Honor Vision are 55″ 4K displays, with the former going for CNY4,799 (about RM2,829.60) and the latter going for CNY3,799 (about RM2,232) in China. The Smart TV has a peak brightness of 400 nits, with a decent 94% screen-to-body ratio and a 178 degree viewing angle. The TV also supports DTS-HD, as well as Dolby Audio.