Chinese tech company Huawei technologies on Friday August 9, 2019 unveiled its own smartphone Operating System which it said could replace Google’s Android in just a few days. This is owing to the fact that their access to the world’s most popular mobile OS – Android might be blocked.
“Hongmeng” the Chinese pronunciation of the Operating System – Harmony OS has been said to be more flexible than Google’s Android, capable of supporting all devices from smartphones and smart speakers to accessories, smart displays and next generation automobiles.
The new OS was revealed at Huawei’s annual developers’ conference in Dongguan by Huawei’s Consumer Electronics Group CEO Richard Yu. In his words “We can start using our Harmony OS anytime for smartphone and the migration from Google’s Android to our own Harmony OS is not that difficult… We can do it in one to two days,” Yu said.
This latest invention comes after the US government blacklisted the Huawei products to restrict its access to American technologies in May, 2019.
The biggest Chinese tech company has been preparing for a possible ban since its ZTE was cut off from U.S. supply suddenly last year, which caused it to cease operation for months. Huawei stocked up to one year’s worth of crucial components to ride out the interim ban.
However, with the understanding that Harmony OS could struggle in a consumer segment where 80% of all smartphones carry the Google system, Yu said Huawei would continue to prioritize using Android for its smartphones if allowed.
Huawei intended to make Harmony open source to encourage wider use. “We want it to be global so we want to invite developers to join us as we build out this new ecosystem.
We could together build a leading OS in the world.” And to encourage the goal, the company announced Friday it would spend $1 billion to support developers building a bigger ecosystem with Huawei.
However, reports say big challenges are still to be faced.
One of the biggest challenges remains that the new operating systems do not have apps built for it. That’s why Huawei said the OS will be first available on smart screens under its sub-brand, instead of smartphones,” said Chiu Shih-fang, a veteran smartphone and supply chain analyst at Taiwan Institute of Economic Research.
The tech giant has so far shown determination and resilience in the face of the U.S. restrictions but the ban is still weighing on its smartphone business.
The company acknowledged that they could not overtake Samsung Electronics as the world’s biggest smartphone maker this year as it had hoped due to the trade tension with the US and uncertainties in the market.
Huawei’s new foldable smartphone, Mate X, a rival to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, will be available for customers as soon as next month but it could still be delayed as the device required additional tests on a 5G network.
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