27 August 2019
After months of rumors and speculations, Huawei has officially announced its Android alternative named HarmonyOS. The new operating system was unveiled at the ongoing Huawei Developer Conference 2019 (HDC) in China. It is capable of running on a wide range of devices including smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, smart TVs, smart speakers, vehicles, and many other Internet of Things (IoT) products.
HarmonyOS will be an open-source operating system and is based on microkernel like Google's Fuchsia OS. Huawei is claiming it to be safer and faster than Android but it will be primarily focused on IoT devices. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei consumer business group, said that even though HarmonyOS is ready to be deployed on smartphones, they will not be using it on phones unless they are stopped from using Android. In other words, it is Huawei's backup plan for the times where it would not be allowed to release Android devices.
Huawei said that its operating system is compatible with HTML5, Linux, and even Android applications. As for helping developers with publishing apps for the platform, it will offer access to ARK Compiler which supports code compilation from languages like C/C++, Java, and Kotlin. It is worth noting that Huawei will not allow root access to Harmony OS citing security reasons.
Huawei revealed that it started working on HarmonyOS in 2017 but has increased the development since then. It is hopeful of releasing the second version in 2020 followed by the third version in 2021. HarmonyOS will be making its debut with the Honor Vision TV and will also be coming to different smart screen products later this year.