Huawei doesn't do things in halves, and the announcement of the new HarmonyOS (or HongMeng depending where you live), is impressive, to say the least.
Originally it was believed that the Huawei OS would be a fork of Android, but this is the first microkernel-based distributed OS for all scenarios and is more closely related to Project Fuchsia than it is to Android.
The new platform supports smartphones, smart speakers, computers, smartwatches, wireless earbuds, cars, and tablets. In fact, Yu says the platform supports RAM sizes ranging from kilobytes to gigabytes. Interestingly enough, Huawei says HarmonyOS won’t support root access.
Initially, it won't support Andorid app, which is a problem but the Huawei CEO also noted that the platform will eventually support a range of apps, specifically noting that HTML5, Linux, and Android.
Huawei may have learned from Samsungs mistakes, rather than launching on phones, it is launching on TVs first. 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.
The first product to use HarmonyOS will be the Honor Vision TV set, which will be launched in China today (August 10).
Huawei CEO said HarmonyOS can replace Android on its smartphones “at any time,” but confirmed they plan to carry on with Android.
Due to the recent trade bans, HarmonyOS has become essential for Huawei in the event of another and more permanent trade ban further down the line.
While I have no doubt this will be superb on IoT devices, similar to how Samsung uses Tizen on their products, can it really compete with Android at a later date?
While the OS may be compatible with Android apps in the future, the Android OS is only one part of the puzzle. Google services are what ties a lot of people to Android, the Play store to manage all the apps, Gmail, maps and more will all have to be factored in when migrating to a new OS.
I would bet that Huawei will develop this OS on their IoT devices then see a gradual launch onto smartphones in China, likely with a focus on the lower end of the market.
I have to admit, I am a bit of a Huawei fanboy, and I am also glad to see a potential new competitor in the Smartphone OS race. We will just have to wait and see how it plays out in the long term.