In development since 2012, Huawei’s operating system, Harmony OS (stylized as HarmonyOS), aims to be the next major operating system alongside iOS and Android, who currently have a nearly 99% share of the global market.
The 2019 US Trade Ban
As you may know, due to the trade war between the United States of America and China, in May 2019, Huawei were put on the US ‘Entity List’. This means that Huawei cannot do business with many selected US-based companies, including Google, who run the Google Search platform, the Android operating system, and many other online services.
Because of the ban, Huawei and its newest smartphones have been denied access to the Google Mobile Services platform, known as GMS. In response to the political battle between the United States and China, Huawei decided to accelerate the creation of its very own operating system which has already been nearly a decade in the making, known as Harmony OS.
The Current Situation
At the moment, all Huawei smartphones released before May 2019 run Google’s Android operating system and have access to GMS. However, all Huawei smartphones released since then still run Android, just without GMS. This means that the newest devices from Huawei, such as the Nova 6, Honor V30, and the flagship Mate 40 Series smartphones use Huawei’s own apps, such as Huawei Mail, Petal Maps, and Huawei Music, instead of Google’s counterparts.
A Cross-Device Operating System
Being a relatively young operating system compared to iOS and Android, Harmony OS is very clever in how it functions. Known as a ‘cross-device’ OS, Harmony OS is not only designed for smartphones, but for a multitude of electronic devices. Aimed at creating seamless experiences between devices, Harmony OS was designed from the ground up to work perfectly with smartphones and IoT devices, such as smart home products.
In fact, Harmony OS began as a TV OS, allowing for effortless communication between multiple devices. This means that you could start a call on your phone, then continue the conversation on your TV in your living room, bringing truly modern integration to several types of devices.
Harmony does this since it is a microkernel-based operating system, essentially making it a ‘modular’ OS. This allows the OS to be broken down into smaller elements and put back together to support future products and enable certain capabilities. This makes the software more lightweight, taking up less storage space and less processing power, and more adaptable for developers creating new product categories.
Historically…Not an Easy Task
By looking at other times when companies tried to make a dent into Apple and Google’s duopoly in the market, it is clear to see that it is an extremely difficult task. Microsoft tried to enter the smartphone market with their own software on their own smartphones; however, this did not go so well. Overall, Microsoft struggled to entice developers to create their apps and put them on the Microsoft store. This meant that users who bought their mobile devices, such as Lumia smartphones, often found there was a lack of apps available for them to enjoy. Because of this, sales slumped over time, and forced Microsoft to shut down Windows Mobile back in 2017.
Huawei Performing Better
Huawei; on the other hand, have already seen great positive reactions to their platform going live. By March 2020, Huawei mobile platform, HMS, already had 55,000 working apps on their AppGallery store, and 1.4 million developers registered to make their own apps work with Huawei’s new ecosystem.
Benefits to Come From All of This
Although the US ban sounds like mostly bad news for Huawei, this is not necessarily the case. With the increased development of Harmony OS and HMS by Huawei, they are acquiring more top-down control of their hardware and software. Because of this, Huawei can better optimise all of its products’ parts to work more efficiently with their software. An example of this is their Kirin chipsets. Currently, Huawei’s processors are forced to work on Android software, which is controlled by Google. This results in reduced performance and efficiency, since Google updates its software based on its own needs and goals, leaving other manufacturers struggling to adapt to the unexpected changes. This reduced fragmentation by gradually leaving the Android ecosystem means that Huawei is on track to operate more like how Apple currently operates, designing its own hardware, built precisely for its own software.
Harmony OS Release Plan
Huawei showing immense confidence in its future is no surprise with their impressive successes over the past couple of decades and the huge resources they have at hand. With this confidence, Huawei have a roadmap in place for consumers regarding Harmony OS’s product releases. In terms of mobile devices, we expect to see smartphones running Harmony OS as early as mid-2021. In addition, Huawei has announced that they plan to release devices running Harmony OS such as smart speakers and headphones in 2021 also, and support for their very own VR glasses in 2022.
Current Smartphone Line-up
From the current Huawei line-up on eFones.com, it is only the newest flagships from 2020, the P40 and P40 Pro, that lack GMS capabilities. This means that the most popular P30 Series smartphones and the ultra-affordable P Smart+ 2019 retain their access to Google’s mobile services.
Get the Huawei P30 Pro with Google Services from just £479.99 here https://www.efones.com/products/huawei-p30-pro-128gb.
Read our blog on the capabilities of Huawei’s mobile services (HMS) here https://www.efones.com/blogs/news/the-capabilities-of-hms
Have any questions? We have additional information & FAQs here https://www.efones.com/pages/huawei-mobile-services-faqs.
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