Huawei recently launched its new operating system, HarmonyOS, which has the potential to replace Android on Huawei smartphones.
“HarmonyOS is completely different from Android and iOS,” explained Huawei Consumer Business CEO Richard Yu.
“It is a microkernel-based, distributed OS that delivers a smooth experience across all scenarios.”
The company added that the operating system will first be used for smart devices including smartwatches, smart screens, and smart speakers.
If necessary, however, Huawei will be able to immediately use the HarmonyOS on its smartphones should it lose its rights to Google’s Android smartphone operating system.
There are three key elements that set HarmonyOS apart from Android.
HarmonyOS is the first-ever device operating system that uses a distributed architecture.
Huawei claims that this makes its operating system faster than Android, as the Google operating system has a lot of unnecessary code and various other legacy issues.
HarmonyOS also features a microkernel design, which Huawei claims offers enhanced security and lower latency because only the most basic services are performed within the microkernel.
This is in contrast to Android, which executes about a thousand times more code from within its Linux-based kernel.
HarmonyOS is also capable of being implemented across various device types, as it will adapt to suit each of these devices.
This is of particular benefit to app developers, who will not need to develop an app multiple times for different devices.
In contrast, operating systems like Android and iOS predominantly work on smartphones, and other operating systems are required for most of Samsung and Apple’s other gadgets.
One of the biggest attractions of HarmonyOS’s versatility across devices is the opportunity it provides for inter-device interactions.
Forbes recently previewed the first device to be launched with HarmonyOS – the Honor Vision smart TV – and discovered that through an easy pairing process, users can almost instantly connect the TV to their phone and project their phone’s display on the smart TV screen.
Huawei also hopes that the Honor Vision can serve as a central hub for its smart home devices – which in the future could all using the same operating system.
One of the biggest worries for many Huawei device users is that if Huawei moves its smartphones to HarmonyOS, they will not be able to use popular apps that are available on the Play Store.
However, Huawei has previously confirmed that these users have nothing to fear.
Speaking with Huawei Central in May, Yu said that the company’s new operating system will be able to run all Android applications.
This means – in theory – that South Africans should not need to worry about losing access to apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook if Huawei loses access to Android.
Huawei has been clear in highlighting that it does not see HarmonyOS as a direct competitor to Android, at least for now. Instead, the company plans on rolling the software out to non-smartphone products, including those that use smart screens.
“Over the next three years, HarmonyOS will be optimized and gradually adopted across a broader range of smart devices, including wearables, Huawei Vision, and head units for your car,” said Huawei.
However, the company has also said that HarmonyOS can immediately be transitioned to its smartphones should they lose access to Android.
At this point, it is unclear if HarmonyOS will be needed to replace Android, as Huawei is uncertain whether it will be able to use Android on its new devices.
For now, however, it appears that Android is still going to be the dominant operating system on non-Apple smartphones – including Huawei devices.