Chinese tech giant Huawei has launched a beta version of the operating system Harmony OS for smartphones at a developer conference on Wednesday. The software, which is also known as Hongmeng, could be part of Huawei’s P50 phone, which is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of next year.
Harmony OS was first introduced for Internet of Things and “smart screen” products in August 2019, KrASIA reported.
Huawei’s move comes after the company sold its budget smartphone brand Honor last month to a consortium of buyers that include agents, dealers, and government-backed entities, as US sanctions are threatening the company’s hardware supply, including key chipsets for 5G devices.
While the Harmony OS can help Huawei reduce reliance on US technology and services, there is still a long way to fully depart from Google’s Android system. While it’s technically not difficult to develop such a system, building an application ecosystem for a mobile OS is the key, said Wang Chenglu, president of the software department at Huawei’s consumer business group.
Although Harmony OS is widely compatible with Android, the Huawei system adds some functions that Android doesn’t have, so that companies need to develop and maintain their apps for the two systems at the same time. JD.com has a team of 26 employees who develop its Harmony apps, and Huawei is supporting them with an additional 10 workers, Wang Zhiqiang, a product manager of JD’s retail unit, told Sina.