Huawei announces first devices with HarmonyOS — set to take on Apple and Google with its in-house operating system

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Huawei announces first devices with HarmonyOS — set to take on Apple and Google with its in-house operating system
HarmonyOS 2 will be running on multiple devices including phones, tablets, TVs, smartwatches.Huawei
  • Huawei has released its first devices with its own operating system -- HarmonyOS.
  • The OS was first showcased in 2019.
  • This will pave way for Huawei to challenge Google and Apple’s dominance in the mobile operating system space.
Chinese tech giant Huawei has officially announced the first series of devices running the company's in-house HarmonyOS operating system (OS). The new OS will be seen on two new tablets -- MatePad Pro and MatePad -- and a new smartwatch named Watch 3. You can only buy HarmonyOS devices right now in China, and there's no update on when these devices will start shipping to India and other countries.

For the uninitiated, Huawei has been working on its own operating system called HarmonyOS to replace Android on its devices after the US trade ban barred the company from using Google's platform for mobile devices. The launch of Huawei's self-developed OS will pave its way to challenge Apple's iOS (approximately 26% market share in May 2021) and Google's Android OS (approximately 73% market share in May 2021), which are the two major platforms used around the globe. The first glimpse of the HarmonyOS was seen in 2019, although the research on the OS was initiated in 2012.

The HarmonyOS comes with its own app store called App Gallery, which is equivalent to the Play Store on Android and App Store on iOS. It is an open-source platform, which means developers can provide apps for the platform, and other manufacturers can also choose to use the operating system on their devices. It is said to run across devices including smartphones, laptops, TVs, wearables and more.

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The company said more than 300 application and service partners, 1000 hardware partners, and 500,000 developers have jointly participated in making the Harmony ecosystem.

"Regardless of the size of the device, only one system can cover smart terminal devices with a memory as small as 128K, as large as 4GB or more, bringing consumers an ultimate full-scene interactive experience," Wang Chenglu, president of Huawei's consumer software business, said at a launch event.

Huawei revealed that its operating system will be installed in about 300 million devices by the end of 2021, with about 200 million being Huawei's own devices.

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Google withdrew Huawei's licence to use Android on its devices soon after the trade ban. The decision affected Huawei's business not just in the US but in other markets as well. As per research firm Counterpoint, the company’s global market share fell to 4% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 8% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Coming up with an in-house operating system eases Huawei's software woes but it still faces major challenges ahead. In April, analysts noted that Huawei's smartphone business is suffering the most as it is facing difficulty in sourcing the advanced chips needed to run the handsets due to US export restrictions.

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