Huawei planning to deploy Harmony OS on ‘many of its products’ next year, launching beta to attract app developers

Che Pan
·2-min read

China’s top smartphone vendor Huawei Technologies Co. is racing to get more developers to build apps compatible with its proprietary operating system, Harmony OS, amid plans to deploy the software on more of its devices – including all of its smartphones – by next year.

The Shenzhen-based company launched a beta version of Harmony OS 2.0 on Wednesday, targeting smartphone app developers. It aims to roll out the operating system on “many of its products” next year, Huawei told the Post on Friday.

Huawei officially unveiled Harmony OS in August last year, about three months after the US announced restrictions that barred the company from including Google apps and services with new products.

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More than 100,000 developers have since joined the Harmony OS ecosystem, including over 120 mainstream app builders such as China’s second-largest e-commerce platform, long-format video platform YouKu and voice recognition software provider iFlyTek, Huawei said in a press release on Wednesday.

The beta launched this week offers a developing environment identical to Harmony OS 2.0, with tools that will enable developers to create smartphone apps compatible with the operating system, Huawei said.

What you need to know about Huawei’s Android alternative, Harmony OS

The telecommunications giant faces an uphill struggle to replace Google’s Android, which remains the world’s most popular mobile operating system and controls a 72 per cent share of the global market as of October, according to data analytics firm Statista. Android and Apple’s iOS, the world’s second most popular mobile operating system, jointly account for 99 per cent of the global market, Statista data showed.

But with most of the millions of smartphones that Huawei ships each year still powered by Android, successfully replacing the Android operating system with Harmony is crucial to the consumer unit’s future.

At the launch of Harmony OS 2.0 in September, Huawei’s consumer business CEO Yu Chengdong said the company’s smartphones would fully support the second-generation operating system by next year. Devices with 128MB of RAM and 4GB storage will be upgraded to the system in April 2021, while all devices with more than 4GB of storage will be upgraded in October next year, according to Huawei’s roadmap.

The company has yet to confirm its plans for switching devices that have already been sold to Harmony OS.

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