Forced by the U.S. government to cut its reliance on U.S-based tech firms, Huawei has developed an OS to replace Android across its consumer devices. It’s called HarmonyOS, and it’s launching soon in China across smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches after an earlier appearance in smart TVs.
“Like other industries, the mobile internet industry built on top of smartphones is set to saturate,” Huawei president Wang Chenglu said. “The day when Huawei started to develop Harmony, we decided it will not be another Android or iOS because that wouldn’t bring value to our customers and app developers.”
Well, he’s right about one thing: It’s unlikely that HarmonyOS will ever see the success or reach of Android or iOS, at least in the West, though the firm claims that there are now over 500,000 developers writing apps to run on the system. Whether any of those developers represent the world’s biggest apps and services is unclear.
Earlier reports suggested that HarmonyOS was just a rebranded and slightly modified version of Android, which would explain how the system could run Android apps. But Huawei says that’s not true, and that there isn’t a “single line of code” in HarmonyOS that is identical to Android.
One of the more interesting aspects of this new platform is that Huawei plans to upgrade some existing smartphones and other devices to HarmonyOS. Overall, at least 100 of its devices will be upgradable to HarmonyOS, at least in China, and the firm says that HarmonyOS will power about 200 million Huawei smartphones in China before 2022. Over 100 million HarmonyOS-based devices are expected in the coming year from third parties.