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article imageHuawei announces new operating system called HarmonyOS

By Tim Sandle     Aug 9, 2019 in Technology
Huawei has announced it is developing a new operating system called Harmony. The aim in the longer term is to replace Android and thereby overcome some of the restrictions that apply to Huawei smartphones.
Huawei's new operating system is to be called HarmonyOS (it will be called Hongmeng within China). This confirms what many tech insiders have been predicting, that Huawei will seek to replace the Android operating system which powers its devices.
Why is Huawei developing its own OS?
The motivation for Huawei to do so dates back to May 2019, when Google was forced by the U.S. government to suspend Huawei's Android licence due to a mix of the U.S.-China trade dispute and general concerns with Huawei's security (the U.S. government placed the Chinese firm on the so-called Entity List).
While Huawei is developing HarmonyOS for future smartphones, in the short-term the operating system will be used in devices like smart speakers and watches. The new operating system forms part of Huawei’s attempt to develop its own technologies, including chips and software, so that it can reduce its reliance upon U.S. imports. With computer chips, there is speculation that U.S.-based technology companies such as Qualcomm and Intel will be cutting ties with Huawei.
What will HarmonyOS be like?
As to what the new operating system will look like and do, details are light. Huawei's Richard Yu is quoted by BBC News as saying: "HarmonyOS is completely different from Android and iOS." The developer added that the operating system would enable developers to create one version of their apps and then "flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices".
Yu adds: "We felt it was important to have an operating system with improved cross-platform capabilities. We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms, and that can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security."
Some commentators are skeptical about whether Huawei will succeed in removing Android from its smartphones. The task is complex and any replacement will need to have wide-spread appeal for Huawei to continue to sell to international markets.
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