Huawei has officially announced HarmonyOS, the operating system it was rumored to be developing to replace its reliance on Android. In China, the software will be known as Hongmeng. The company says the operating system, a microkernel-based distributed OS, can be used in everything from smartphones to smart speakers, wearables, and in-vehicle systems to create a shared ecosystem across devices. The operating system will be released as an open-source platform worldwide to encourage adoption.
“Harmony OS is completely different from Android and iOS,” said Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group referring to operating systems developed by Alphabet Inc’s Google and Apple Inc.
“You can develop your apps once, then flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices,” he told a developers’ conference held in Dongguan in southern China, where Huawei has built a lavish new campus modelled on European towns.
Harmony OS now has an official name, but it still has some major hurdles to overcome. Huawei is expecting developers to recompile their apps for this new operating system, with the ability to code once and deploy across multiple devices with different screen layouts, interactions, and more. Huawei says developers can compile a range of languages into machine code in a single environment, but it’s unclear exactly how easy that will be for developers. There are a lot of big promises here, but it’s going to be an even bigger challenge to build an app ecosystem to rival both Android and Android Open Source Project (AOSP).