Huawei launches new OS called 'HarmonyOS'

A man holds a Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone at the International Consumer Electronics Expo in Beijing China

A man holds a Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone at the International Consumer Electronics Expo in Beijing China

Chinese phone maker Huawei has launched its own Operating System (OS), HarmonyOS or HongMeng in Chinese, after a strained relationship with United States, resulting to threats of barring it from accessing Android OS.

Huawei has announced it is developing a new operating system called HarmonyOS.

On Friday, Yu said HarmonyOS is created to operate on PCs and tablet computers as well as smartphones, allowing users to integrate music and other functions across multiple devices.

The core of Google's Android OS is also open source, so companies can take the code and use it however they want.

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But Huawei said that for now it would stick to using Google's Android for smartphones, and the new software will be gradually rolled out to support devices such as smartwatches, speakers and virtual reality gadgets.

Yu also shared the information that the operating system could be "deployed" and used at any time, which is handy if Apple's Android is no longer accessible to Huawei devices.

Harmony OS is expected to launch later this year on products with smart displays, such as the Huawei Vision. Including such a feature could be to ensure that users don't face any issues when switching over from Android to Harmony or it it's a just that Huawei is learning from Microsoft's smartphone experience. However, he said the Chinese firm's "priority" is to still use Android in its devices, though it could easily switch to Harmony at any point if necessary. For now, it's mainly meant to run on devices other than smartphones.

The Harmony OS will have Trusted Execution Environment across devices, to keep data secure regardless of platforms.

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The custom Android-but-not-Android operating system that will in theory replace Google's OS in the event that the distribution license for Android gets denied by the US government. It's more like Google's experimental Fuchsia OS than it is like Android. The company said Friday that it will "lay the foundations" for Harmony in China, and then "expand it further to the global ecosystem".

While the company said that it now prefers to power its smartphones with Google's Android, it did not rule out the future use of its own system on smartphones.

Huawei also shared some plans for the future of HarmonyOS. Devices that use Harmony will be integrated with each other. "Because this is entirely new, it's for them to reimagine what an OS can be, not being tied to what Android and iOS are like".

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