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Huawei prepares to switch from Android to Harmony

Ahead of Huawei Consumer’s developer conference the company is doubling down on its in-house smartphone operating system.

Huawei formally unveiled Harmony OS at its developer conference last year, and developments of the intervening 12 months have only added to the urgency around the project. According to reports from Chinese media, Huawei has chucked hundreds of millions of dollars into developing Harmony and now reckons it has reached 70-80% of the ‘performance features’ of Android, whatever that means.

Additionally Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer division, reportedly said Huawei would make Harmony available to other Chinese smartphone makers, assuming the US continues its tech crusade. That, in turn, will kick-start a parallel smartphone ecosystem to rival Android and iOS, or so the theory goes.

Referring to the latest round of sanctions from the US targeting Huawei’s ability to source chips for its phones, Yu was quoted as saying “This has caused a huge crisis for us. We are working day and night to solve the problem… we can still hold on for a while, but it is indeed a difficult period when your own designed good chips cannot be produced, and other people’s chips cannot be sold to us.

“The status quo does not represent the future. In 5G, we are now far ahead. We are ahead of Ericsson by more than one and a half years, and Ericsson is ahead of Nokia by five years. Our only mistake is that we were born in China.”

Fighting talk from Yu there, but his claim to be years ahead of his competitors should be taken with a pinch of salt. Similarly it’s hard to see Harmony becoming an acceptable alternative to Android for consumers any time soon. If hundreds of millions of dollars have only got it three quarters of the way there, then has Huawei even got the cash to close the gap at that rate?

A decade ago, when the smartphone OS duopoly wasn’t yet fully established, the reason Android squeezed out Symbian, Microsoft, BlackBerry, etc was that it had a better UI and was free to use. Now it has a developer ecosystem that would take years to rival and even that’s only if Huawei could overcome the Catch-22 of developers not wanting to bother with a platform that has an insufficient user base.

As for flogging it to Chinese competitors, that faces so many obstacles it’s hard to see them going for it unless they have absolutely no alternative. Not only would the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, etc be taking on extra cost, they would be faced with a defeatured platform owned by their biggest competitor. Patriotic rallying cries are unlikely, by themselves, to win them over.


87 comments

  1. Avatar Tim Connolly 10/09/2020 @ 9:38 am

    If you want a decent planet for you children and grand kids stop upgrading your phones every year or two and only buy ones that last. Phones from the last 5-7 years all do pretty much the same thing.
    I still use a 13 year old smart phone. Can’t get most of the latest apps but can do what I need. Phones are re released every year to make the rich richer and the planet poorer in health. Stop being sheep and make a stand against consumerism and the greed of the super rich. Someday a manufacturer will realize and build one that’s made to last longer than the the minimum they can get away with.

  2. Avatar Who knows 10/09/2020 @ 10:32 am

    I have used mainly IPhones, Samsung and pixels over the years. Then I purchased a used mate 20 pro. And it’s so much better then any of the above phones. Will I stick to Huawei, yes for time being. IPhone is over priced for me. It seems to be a prestige thing.
    Let’s see what harmony brings to the table. Certainly can’t be worse then Android.

    • Avatar MIKIL 10/09/2020 @ 2:20 pm

      I’m happy with the harmony OS that’s coming up cause I’m tired of USA wantin to control other nations round the world today which is bad

      • Avatar skedge 12/09/2020 @ 2:14 am

        Good to see it’s most likely idiots who will be supporting Huawei’s OS, GIVEN THE CHOICE.

  3. Avatar Euan 10/09/2020 @ 10:52 am

    I will always go huawei I am curious about the harmony os, I wish all the best for huawei and other Chinese products

  4. Avatar Shahnaaz Kassam Sharif 10/09/2020 @ 11:00 am

    Great fan of Huawei. Have a phone, tablet and a wrist band. Will stick to Huawei.

  5. Avatar Albert Tay 10/09/2020 @ 11:15 am

    Huawei is great making the move to HMOS. It will make our life easier using the same system for PC and for hand phone. Further more, we can use it to control other appliances. Future is better using HMOS.

  6. Avatar Juma 11/09/2020 @ 9:11 am

    I like HUAWEI. Harmony is the way to go. Let them (US) remain with their Android. We shall go where you. So long us Harmony will provide what others have to the users, no problem

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