Huawei Releases Its Own Operating System. But Not for Smartphones

By Tristin Zhang, August 14, 2019

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Chinese tech giant Huawei has officially launched its long-awaited in-house operating system. The announcement was made during a developer conference held in the company’s Dongguan campus on August 9. There have been talks about the release of Huawei’s own operating system after Google cut off the Chinese smartphone maker’s Android license in May. 

The new, multi-purpose HarmonyOS can be used to power smart TVs, in-vehicle systems, smart speakers as well as wearable devices such as smart watches, according to Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group. 

Yu said in the Huawei conference that “people expect a holistic intelligent experience across all devices and scenarios. To support this, 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.” 

READ MORE: China Has Huawei's Back: Domestic Smartphone Sales Rise

A new smart TV, or ‘smart screen’ as Huawei calls it, was released during the conference, which is the first device to use HarmonyOS. It is available for preorder on JD.com

But is HarmonyOS a smartphone operating system? Well, it won’t be powering Huawei’s first commercial 5G mobile phone, the Mate 20 X, which runs on Huawei Emui 9.1, an Android 9-based system already licensed by Google before the Huawei ban. Yu claimed that if Huawei devices won’t be able to use Android in the future, HarmonyOS can easily be deployed instead, but Android remains the priority system for Huawei phones. 

In the end, Huawei’s partnership with Google may depend on a resolution to the current US-China trade dispute.

READ MORE: Trump's Huawei Ban is Now Impacting Shenzhen's Housing Market

[Cover image via Huawei’s website]

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