Huawei has announced Harmony OS – its long-awaited alternative to Android – at its Huawei Developer Conference 2019.
According to Huawei Consumer Business CEO Richard Yu, the operating system is open-source, and was built with four key building blocks in mind:
- A deterministic latency engine
- Improved security through a Trusted Execution Environment
- A modularised format which can adapt to various hardware types
- A distributed artchitecture
Yu said that due to these four considerations, Harmony OS will be both faster and safer than Android.
It is built to adapt to whichever device it is installed on – meaning it can be deployed across a vast range of device types – making it closer to Google Fuchsia than to Android in its functionality.
This will also mean that app developers will only need to develop their software once, and it will run across a variety of hardware types.
While Harmony OS is currently expected to be used primarily with IoT products such as wearables and smart displays, if Huawei loses access to the Android operating system, it will be capable of deploying Harmony OS onto its smartphones immediately.
Huawei said it has been developing this Harmony OS since 2017, and while the version unveiled today still uses both Linux and Huawei’s older Lite OS kernels, the 2020 version will exclusively use the Harmony OS kernel – making it the true version of the operating system. This 2020 version will reportedly be able to support high-performance graphics on “innovative PCs.”
Harmony OS is built with a deterministic latency engine, which the company claims will deliver a smoother, interactive experience.
This engine should ensure that latency is minimised, providing a more fluid and interactive experience.
The operating system will also have a verified TEE (Trusted Execution Environment), which Huawei said will improve connected security across numerous smart devices.
Due to its microkernel design, there will be no root access available – theoretically making the operating system more secure than a platform like Android.
Harmony OS is expected to launch later this year on products with smart displays, such as the Huawei Vision.