After months of secrecy, Huawei Technologies has announced its proprietary operating system (OS), Harmony (鸿蒙, Hóngméng) OS. This comes in light of recent US sanctions that have restricted the company’s access to key software and hardware resources from third parties.
Huawei insists that Harmony OS, called Hongmeng OS in Chinese, will not be an Android replacement, but is intended to be implemented on smart devices like televisions, smartwatches, speakers, virtual reality devices, and yes – smartphones.
Richard Yu, head of the Huawei consumer business group, emphasised the uniqueness of their newly-developed operating system. Harmony is designed to allow developers to code an application once, and automatically translate the information to other mediums.
This means that mobile applications can be easily repackaged as a smart speaker app, or offer interactions within a VR environment. Huawei did speak of their plans to pursue this a month ago at CES Asia, but did not mention Hongmeng, or Harmony OS.
Possibly hinting at its eventual use as a mobile operating system, Yu said that this unique trait will make Harmony OS “completely different from Android and iOS”.
Yu goes on to delineate the company’s strategy: to focus on the massive Chinese market in creating a suitable app economy, utilising this momentum to “spur the overseas market”.
Unlike Android and iOS platforms that take around 30% of the cut from developers’ app sales revenues, Huawei is looking at only 10% or 15% to help sway app development in their favour.
A new smart television will be revealed today (10 August 2019) powered by the new Harmony OS. According to Yu, the company had mobilised 4,000 developers to create the operating system.
Several mentions were made to Google’s Fuchsia operating system, which shares Harmony’s goals of a truly cross-platform, cross-interface operating system. This means that not only does Huawei intend Harmony to replace Android, but it might also very well seek to completely transform the technology.