Earlier this week we mentioned the stringent situation in which the U.S. government has put the Chinese tech giant by ultimately banning them from partnering with any US company or using any US technology on the basis of national security, the company for the first time has now announced it’s plans in the coming years as to what customers and lovers of their products should expect in the near future.
And one of the most important news in this area is the HarmonyOS which made lots of headlines last year when the company finally released a smart TV with the operating system.
The company did launched the HarmonyOS 2.0 at it’s annual Huawei Developer Conference (HDC) 2020 in China on Thursday and the company’s CEO, Richard Yu has confirmed at the event that Huawei will release HarmonyOS-powered smartphones by the year 2021. And with the plural form of “smartphones” this seems that we’ll see a number of smartphones powered by this new software which is cross-platform.
The first beta release of HarmonyOS for smartphones will be available in December 2020 for developers to try out. But it’s possible that some selected existing Huawei devices might be able to run the new operating system as well.
Huawei had earlier on denied ever planning to switch to the HarmonyOS on it’s smartphone product line-up as the company said it was primarily developed for smart devices and that it wouldn’t release a smartphone with it but stick with Android for as long as it possibly can.
But the company soon found itself in hot waters with the US as pressure continues to mount on the company with the latter wanting to squeeze out Huawei from the world tech market and be reduced to just being China and maybe some regions where.
Meanwhile the development of the HarmonyOS has been rumored to have been secretly done for many years with a special team and panel within the country being setup to foresee the success of the project. But the question come as to whether Huawei’s new operating system is ready to be deployed so soon or not even though the company’s senior officials have always bragged about how blazing fast the software is compared to the mainstream Android and iOS.
Since Huawei was barred from using the Google Mobile Service which basically powers all Android devices, Huawei had to device it’s own alternative for it’s customers hence Huawei Mobile Service or HMS but then the worst came last month when the US failed to renew its Temporary General License (TGL) which made the company lose all of its Google’s support and updates to older devices born before the initial ban early 2019.
Huawei therefore have no option than to just move on to its own platform as the company plans to release the HarmonyOS 2.0 beta version for smartphones with SDK, Documentation, Tool and Simulator to Developers by December 2020.
The smartphones that’ll run the operating system by the year 2021 might be the company’s entry-level smartphones for experimentation who knows because of the newness of the platform as it needs time to adapt to the much eroded industry completely blown away by both Android and iOS.
Speaking of smartphones that’ll support the HarmonyOS, the company’s rotating CEO Richard Yu further added that the initial version of the operating system will support devices with just 128KB to 128MB of RAM while between April to October of 2021, there will be support for devices with larger storage such as 4GB of RAM and above.
This roadmap is for the HarmonyOS 2.0 version and not specifically for the smartphone OS. But it hints that the first batch of HarmonyOS smartphones may be targeted at the budget or mid-range segment with less than 4GB of RAM.
And it’s worth noting that Huawei did made the HarmonyOS an open source platform much like Google did to Android even though the company will be the developer of the software, it can be used by other companies later on in the future if the see the need to make the switch.
I will not say that the HarmonyOS will suddenly take on Android or the iOS just like that as those software have gone through phases and trials and error which is what kept shaping them along the way. Which is why I don’t think Huawei will run he operating system on it’s high-end flagships just yet.
But it will be a good thing for the industry to become much more diverse with different competition which gives customers purchasing choices as there shouldn’t only be two operating systems in the world with billions of smartphone users.