Huawei officially unveils Harmony OS – may become an open-source alternative to Android

Today Huawei started HGC (Huawei Developer Conference) and the biggest announcement is the official release of HarmonyOS. This is the rumored HongMengOS which we’ve been reading so much in the past few months. Ever since the US imposed trade bans for US companies with Huawei, the company was forced to speed up the development of their in-house operating system. The OS was obviously in the works for some time, but the actions taken by the US government forced Huawei to launch it sooner.

What makes HarmonyOS so special? It will nor run on just smartphones but on a wide variety of devices. Actually, the first device will be a smart TV that will launch in China in the upcoming days. It will also run on routers, tablets, and obviously smartphones. Huawei claims that it will support dives with just a few kilobytes of RAM, up to devices with more gigabytes. It won’t support ROOT access, but I am sure that this won’t stop people from trying to get it.

HarmonyOS won’t support Android app out of the box. Developers will have to make “small changes” to their applications in order to port them to the new operating system, but they claim that the process is easy and straight-forward. There is an ARK compiler that will be available for developers that will support Kotlin, Java, C and C++. The operating system will also support HTML5 applications. For now though, the company will stick to Android for their smartphones. This year the company will launch version 1.0 of the OS that targets smart displays, with development continuing to expand the number of supported devices.

Right now, the biggest hole for HarmonyOS is the app ecosystem. If consumers are to adopt it and buy devices running this new operating system, there have to be many apps available, especially the most used ones. Huawei plans to solve this by incentivizing developers to port their existing applications to the new platform as well as develop new ones. This step has not started yet and will probably begin next year, at the earliest. For now, all smartphones launched by Huawei outside of China will come with Android.

P.S. The operating system apparently will be open source, but so far the sources were not published anywhere publicly available.

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