Huawei launches HarmonyOS 2.0 for smartphones in uphill battle against Google’s Android operating system
- HarmonyOS 2.0 will be introduced on a number of Huawei devices, including smartphones, tablets and smartwatches
- Huawei plans to have HarmonyOS 2.0 installed in up to 400 million devices this year
“Developing a new ecosystem from scratch incurs significant amounts of workload,” said Chen Mulong, a veteran Android programmer who used to develop mobile phones for Nokia. “It is not only users who need to adapt to new styles of apps, it also involves luring a great number of developers to convert to the new platform.”
Chen said it is a tall order for Huawei to build an ecosystem completely different from Android.
Google still provides security and app updates on Huawei devices available before May 16, 2019. But without proprietary Google Mobile Services apps like Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube, Huawei’s newer smartphones have been a lot less useful for consumers outside China.
Wang Chenglu, the head of software at Huawei‘s consumer business group, said at a forum in January that the company’s goal for HarmonyOS this year is to install it on more than 200 million Huawei devices and over 100 million third-party devices.
“Altogether, the hardware products with Harmony OS will reach 300 million to 400 million units by the end of this year,” Wang said.
Huawei did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday.
Controversy, meanwhile, continues to surround the origins of HarmonyOS.
“It’s possible that HarmonyOS 2.0 for smartphones shares some similar source codes with Android,” said Xia Hailong, a tech-focused lawyer at Shanghai Shenlun Law firm.
Xia said developers need more time to digest Huawei’s strategy on its new operating system.
Huawei has yet to release the source codes of HarmonyOS 2.0.
It is difficult to estimate how much HarmonyOS 2.0 has borrowed from the Android Open Source Project without the source codes being revealed, according to Chen, the Android programmer.
Additional reporting by Celia Chen.