Huawei has officially announced ‘Harmony OS’ at a developer conference in Dongguan, China on Friday. This new OS came earlier in response to the US trade ban on Huawei which took place a few months ago. Huawei was already making it’s own OS prior to the ban but the process had been fastened due to the immense pressure.
The company stated that Huawei’s Harmony OS will be open sourced which is something unique for Huawei as they have a past record of keeping everything very closed source. Harmony OS is the international name while with-in China it will still be called HongMeng OS. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group stated
Harmony OS is completely different from Android and iOS, We will switch to Harmony OS when we can’t use Android
Harmony OS Debut on Smart TV
Harmony will firstly be equipped in smart watches, smart screens, smart speakers and other devices including “in-vehicle devices”. Harmony OS made its debut in a smart TV, called Honor TV. Devices that use Harmony will be integrated with each other. The company said on Friday that they will “lay the foundation” of Harmony in China first and then “expand it further to the global ecosystem.” So maybe Huawei’s strategy is clever: put Harmony on a smart TV, a smartwatch, a tablet or even a laptop and let people get used to it. Then, when it’s familiar and everyone’s enjoying it, why not release it on phones, too? Huawei is hoping that’s not going to be necessary but is determined to be ready if it is.
Android which uses the Linux kernel’s scheduling mechanism, Harmony OS uses a “deterministic latency engine” that provides “precise resource scheduling with real-time load analysis and forecasting and app characteristics matching.” The result is a 25.7% and 55.6% improvement in response latency and latency fluctuation respectively. In addition, Huawei says the microkernel can make “IPC [Inter Process Communication] performance up to five times more efficient than existing systems.” Something similar with Google Fuchsia
Harmony and HongMeng Operating System
Work on the Harmony OS began 2 years ago with version 1.0 of the microkernel. In 2019, they accelerated work so the OS can work on more device types such as smart screen products. The Chinese company says version 2.0 of its microkernel will be released next year while version 3.0 arrives in 2021, bringing support for wearable and car head units. Huawei says they can switch to Harmony OS right now because the migration is not very difficult due to the nature of the microkernel; they boast they can switch from Android to Harmony in 1-2 days.But Huawei would only opt for the switch if it is forced to do it, not when they have Access to Android.
Android Apps on Harmony OS
Harmony OS is not compatible with Android apps out-of-the-box, confirms Richard Yu. That means you won’t be able to merely side-load any Android app of your choosing as earlier expected and rumoured. In a press conference, Mr. Yu says that app developers will have to make “small changes” to their apps in order to compile them to run on Harmony OS. He states that it is “very easy” to transfer Android apps to Harmony OS. The details about how easy it will be and how it will be done will be available in Developers Conference which is due in few months.
Due to the ban Google couldn’t provide Huawei with their latest Android version and Huawei was limited to only public Android version. The existing Huawei smartphones were largely unaffected by this ban but the future of Huawei was at risk. Huawei wouldn’t have the latest Android, Google’s Play Store, Gmail and other apps. Huawei smartphone sales dropped internationally during the ban but remained good in China as most of the Google’s equipment is banned in China, where Huawei comes in and presents its own products (Google’s replacement). Still Huawei remained in the second place just behind Samsung and above Apple in the smartphone race even though the ban took place and Huawei took a hit.
Will Harmony OS Replace Android
It most likely will but not anytime soon. Harmony OS is made to replace Android but can it? Not yet, because Huawei’s OS has been rushed and pushed out as soon as possible because of the trade ban on Huawei which was a grave threat to Huawei. In the future we are more likely to see three different Operating systems inside a smartphone:
- Android (Google’s)
- Harmony/Hongmeng (Huawei’s)
- iOS (Apple’s)
Each of these will have different attributes, functions and usage. We will just have to wait and see which one performs well and takes the lead as the best Operating System. What is your Take on Harmony Operating System ?