Android is the world’s most popular smartphone operating system with a market share of over 74 percent. Although iOS ranks second, there is another OS coming on the market that will be 60% faster than Android, even faster than iOS in some respects. This brand new OS is Huawei’s Harmony OS 2.0. Hardware trade Huawei is quite famous, but software development Huawei is far behind. However, after the ban was imposed by the US government due to security reasons in May 2019, there was a rumor that Huawei’s next smartphones will not have the popular operating system Android. Instead of Android, Huawei has announced that it will launch smartphones with its own operating system HarmonyOS, and in 2019 Huawei developer conferences HarmonyOS will be public retrieval. And in 2020, HarmonyOS 2.0 was unveiled, which is capable of running on smartphones.
What can this operating system of Huawei look like? When will HarmonyOS powered smartphones be launched? Can HarmonyOS compete with Android? In today’s review, I will tell you about those issues.
Harmony OS is a multi-platform operating system called HongmenOS in China. Prior to the launch, it was thought that the operating system would later be used on Huawei smartphones instead of the popular operating system Android. According to a report by Huawei Central, the company began developing HarmonyOS in mid-2012. Huawei executive director Richard Tu said that they have been working with HarmonyOS since 2012 as an alternative to their smartphones if Huawei is banned from using Android in the future. However, later Huawei Chairman Liang Hua Senior Vice Chairman Catherine Chen said that HarmonyOS was originally an embedded operating system that was developed for use in (IoT) devices and in the future they intend to make it a suitable operating system for smartphone use. To this end, Huawei later registered the trademarks of HarmonyOS in China as Hongmen OS and in the European Union intellectual property office as ARK OS. Until then, though, many had doubts about their operating system. Finally, putting an end to all speculations, Huawei officially unveiled their first operating system HarmonyOS at the Huawei Developer Conference (HDC) held on August 9, 2019, in Dongguan, China. Initially, the Huawei sub-brand Honor smart TV was used in a few devices including “Honor Vision, Honor vision pro, Huawei vision”. The second version of the operating system HarmonyOS 2.0 was later released on September 10, 2020, at HDC 2020. This new version can be used for smart displays, smartwatches as well as car multimedia systems, smartphones, and various IoT based electronic devices.
Before we get to know the features of HarmonyOS, let’s find out how this OS works.
Huawei This new operating system is a Microkernel-based distributed operating system. In which coding is based on a single app framework and the same course services are implemented on all types of hardware. As a result, large coding becomes necessary, and resources can be used in real-time dialogue using efficient real-time scrolling models. It is not an operating system, it is a complete ecosystem, ie phones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, kitchen appliances, smart freeze, Smart TV, CAR multimedia system, including all types of IoT devices, this OS can be used. Harmony OS does not require app developers to develop software separately for different devices. Because of its adaptive UX framework, customers will be able to use the software on all Harmony OS devices.
Now let me tell you what the features of Harmony OS can be, and why there is so much fuss about Harmony OS in the technical community.
Because the microkernel-based OS is developed through smaller programming lines, it is smaller in size than the microkernel-based operating system and as a result, can communicate with hardware much faster. According to a report by Independent UK, Huawei’s CEO Ren Zhengfei claims that HARMONYOS works 60% faster than Android and its processing delay is only 5 milliseconds which is faster than Apple’s macOS. On the other hand, TechRadar reports that Huawei claims that the coding of Harmony OS is so strong that one line coding of Harmony OS is enough instead of 100 line coding of Android. Also, the latency of the OS for better data management and touch scrolling is much less. Huawei says it has been able to reduce the response latency in this new operating system by 25.7 percent from other conventional operating systems.
Harmony OS is a multi-platform operating system that can run on almost all types of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and all types of IoT devices. The biggest advantage of the OS is that there is no need to do separate app development for different platforms. Harmony OS can be used on all devices if a developer develops apps for one device. As a result, developers will be able to focus more on their service logic from their app development across different platforms. Again no need to do separate app design and development for each different app Farewell developers will save a lot of time, labor, and money. Different platforms in the current operating systems have to develop and optimize the app separately for each different phone model which is very time consuming and expensive. Besides, according to Huawei’s claim, the Android app will also run on Harmony OS. However, it remains to be seen how much Android apps will optimize for Harmony OS and how fast they will run.
Harmony OS has a cross-platform feature, which allows the customer to play a video file on the smartphone in the customer’s room without any cable connection or screen sharing. Also through NFC and WiFi, customers will be able to control all devices including home TV, fridge, AC, the sound system through their smartphones without any hassle. Besides, if the consumer moves from one room to another while talking on video calls or listening to music, the voice or music will automatically move to the speaker of the other room. The user will not need to change the speaker from his device separately.
Privacy & Security
Although there is a considerable concern for the privacy of iOS users in terms of security, the position of Android is not so convenient. So in this case Harmony OS operating system has ample opportunity to move forward. Having a controlled data management system will keep customers safe from data hacking. Huawei has also developed a formal verification method to protect the security of their operating system and it will protect the user device from unwanted OS purses as it does not have root access for the customers.
How HarmonyOS Can Survive
If all the features and capabilities that Huawei claims to have in their Harmony OS are true, then Harmony is undoubtedly going to be a groundbreaking OS. However, in order to compete with the market share of Android and iOS, Huawei has to ensure some things. I will talk about those issues at this stage of the review.
Biggest App Store
One of the reasons behind the current success of Android is its huge app store. When Android came on the market, market-dominated Nokia Symbian and BlackBerry OS could not compete with Android because it was fashionable for Google to bring app developers to their own platform. As a result, new apps were constantly being added to the Android app library and as a result, the number of apps in Google’s library was increasing rapidly. Although Huawei has a separate app store for Android phones, they have never promoted their app store in that way. If Harmony OS wants to regain its lost position in the Huawei market, the company must look to increase the number of apps in its app library. But before that, why should Huawei focus on creating native infrastructure. Android and iOS do not make money from their operating systems, as the two companies want users to come into their ecosystem and use their services. And Huawei may be facing their biggest hurdle here, as global users feel more comfortable using the Android or iOS App Store than the third-party App Store. Creating native infrastructure will make it easier to attract users. After the infrastructure, the general users must have the apps and services they want from their OS like email, map, browser, calendar as well as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and popular smartphone games in the Huawei Appstore. In addition, the Huawei App Store also needs to have some exclusive apps that will attract users to the Huawei platform. Although Huawei is already quite ahead in terms of their app gallery. Huawei Gallery currently has 490 million users and 261 billion apps downloaded. In the Huawei App Gallery, there are Tom-tom for navigation, ride-sharing app Bolt, live streaming sharing app Kumu, and Telegram app already available. The gallery also includes the Lord’s mobile, Rise of kingdoms, and AFK arena games from LGG and LILITH, as well as the makers of the Profiler game. There are also e-commerce services like Ail express, lazada, travel and tourism app Booking.com and Agoda, and even Russia’s largest bank Sberbank contactless payment service in Huawei’s app gallery.
Attract App Developer
Huawei needs to attract app developers if it wants to increase the number of regular apps in its App Gallery. Businessofapps.com reports that there are 6 million Android app developers and 2.8 million app developers worldwide for iOS. Huawei’s HMS platform, on the other hand, has 1.8 million registered app developers. They can incentivize app developers to attract new developers. Several apps, including Fortnite and Spotify, have sued Google and Apple over the 30% commission imposed by the two companies. Huawei could take advantage of this opportunity to incentivize app developers on their platform as well as encourage them to come to their platform by announcing lower commissions. In January 2020, Huawei announced a 26 million investment for British and Irish app developers to allow app developers in both countries to develop apps for Huawei’s ecosystem. Huawei may announce such investments for more different countries. This will encourage app developers and they will agree to work for the Huawei App Gallery.
One of the most important issues in the Android operating system is the delay in updating the new version of the operating system. Google Pixel phones have been updated with OT updates within a few days of the release of the new OS version, but it is too late for the 3rd party manufacture phones to get the update. In many cases, it is seen that after 2/3 years no OS update comes to the phone. Although Google’s 3rd party vendor is responsible for this. However, as a brand new OS, Huawei may be wary of this, so that updates to Huawei’s Harmony OS can roll-out very quickly on all devices running this operating system. However, as an open-source, Harmony OS has the same factors in front of it that Google can not bring faster updates on all Android devices. However, if Harmony OS can quickly roll-out the OS updates and define itself separately from Android, then it can easily attract consumers.
Secure user Privacy
In addition to all this, Huawei can define the privacy and security of users. Consumers are now becoming increasingly aware of the Big Tech style of storing, selling, and displaying personal information. As Harmony OS is not yet self-contained as a new platform, many users will not have confidence in this platform. In that case, if Huawei is clear about how to collect user information from the beginning and how to use this information, then Huawei will have the advantage to gain the trust of the users. Moreover, Huawei can use the end-to-end encryption method in their entire operating system, so that user information will be not inaccessible to third-party and even Huawei, resulting in Harmony OS becoming the only privacy-centric OS in the world.
One of the reasons behind the popularity of Android is that Android was open source, meaning that any manufacturer could manufacture phones on the Android operating system if they wanted to. Huawei has promised to keep Harmony OS open source in HDC 2020, meaning that third-party manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and Samsung will be able to release phones using Huawei’s Harmony OS. Third-party smartphone manufacturers can collaborate with Huawei companies to use Harmony OS and make incentives in the beginning. Huawei has already collaborated with Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, and Appstore. If Huawei can manufacture their own Harmony OS phones in collaboration with these manufacturers, then Harmony OS will be able to quickly and easily bring in a good market presenter, which will help them achieve more success in the future.
So far, Huawei has been claiming that their Harmony OS is not a competitor to Android but has more features than Android and they are working towards that goal.
For those wondering when they will get Harmony OS on Huawei devices, CO Richard Yu of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group said they have already successfully tested their first Harmony OS smartphone. This year, in the middle of 2021, customers will see Harmony OS in Huawei’s smartphones. He hopes that in the future Harmony OS will be able to take the form of a worldwide operating system with its huge user base. Although Google is working with Fuchsia, the Microcornell-based multiplatform operating system in its process, it seems that Huawei is well ahead of Google.
Huawei is rapidly developing Harmony OS after the commercial ban and they want to revolutionize the mobile operating system industry.