Huawei unveils smart displays under Honor brand equipped with alternative operating system to Android

Li Tao

Huawei Technologies debuted its much-anticipated operating system in smart displays by Honor, one of its brands, as the Chinese telecoms equipment giant prepares for a possible future without access to Google’s Android.

The new Honor smart displays come with a pop-up camera for video chat and facial recognition and allow all devices equipped with the company’s self-developed Harmony OS to interact in a seamless way, Honor president George Zhao Ming said on Saturday.

Users can share information, text notes, conduct video chats between the smart displays and smartphones seamlessly. With a starting price tag of 3,799 yuan (US$540), the Honor display is equipped with HiSilicon “Honghu 818” intelligent chipset and smart pop-up camera for large screens, allowing the users to operate the display through voice chat and enjoy personalised features driven by artificial intelligence, according to Zhao.

“Many people have stopped using TVs in the family, and we are trying to subvert the idea,” Richard Yu Chengdong, Huawei’s mobile chief, said on Saturday at the company’s developer conference in Dongguan, China. Huawei sometimes uses its most “forward-looking” technology on Honor first, he said.

On Friday, Huawei unveiled its self-developed Harmony operating system, which supports a range of products and systems within its own ecosystem, including smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs, automobiles and smart wear.

The main Huawei brand is also expected to launch its own smart displays in September, one month after Honor’s product first hit the market.

Huawei unveils Harmony OS for smartphones as Android fate looms

The official launch of Huawei’s self-developed OS marks a milestone for the Chinese company, which is currently affected by a US trade ban and restricted in its ability to buy a range of American-made technology, including Google’s Android for smartphones and Microsoft’s Windows operating system for personal computers.

Popular smart TVs sold in the market are mostly powered by Google’s Android OS or Alibaba’s YunOS for TVs, while major TV vendors like Samsung is using its own Tizen system.

Unlike Google and Apple, which use separate operating systems for different types of electronic products, Huawei’s Harmony, based on a light microkernel system, can adapt to different scenarios and is capable of being shared across different devices seamlessly, according to Huawei.

Migrating apps from Android to the new system is relatively easy but the company would prefer to continue using Google’s Android OS on its smartphones if allowed, Yu said during the launch of the Harmony OS event on Friday.

Harmony OS was originally planned for launch in autumn next year. The trade war between the US and China advanced the process, Yu told reporters, adding that more than 4,000 researchers were involved in the development of the operating system.

For insights into China technology, be part of our Inside China Tech group on Facebook. Listen to our Inside China Tech podcast and subscribe via iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher. For a comprehensive survey of China’s digital landscape, download the 2019 China Internet Report.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article Huawei unveils smart displays under Honor brand equipped with alternative operating system to Android first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2019.