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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 Happiman 08/09/2020 @ 10:36 pm

    The OS should be very good, but no one out side China won’t use it.

    • Avatar Little black duck 09/09/2020 @ 11:01 am

      This little bla k duck will! Dumped buggy Apple at 4S mode land had several better value smartphones including flagships (ie the Nokia 808 Pure View!!! :)… Discovered Huawei in 2018 with the Mate 20 Pro and still loving it’s ability to deliver excellent image quality and the fast OTA updates and all the other top flagship features you come to expect in a premium product. So I’m an eager Mate 40 Pro buyer in waiting!
      And Harmony? I hope! Dual boot? Bring it on!
      Google has highjacked Open Android and like Microsoft in PCs owns you, Google owns you in Android. So my PC now runs Linux and my Mate 40 I hope will run Harmony! Escape at last 🙂

    • Avatar Tacon 09/09/2020 @ 12:12 pm

      You just double negatived your statement, you’re saying everyone outside china want to use it. Which I am very doubtful, good hardware for sure, but want to jump into their ecosystem?

      • Avatar kevin H Hoang 09/09/2020 @ 10:23 pm

        I believe maybe for usa they wont use it but most of asia where chinese.smartphone are dominated then they.sure.will

        • Avatar Tacon 10/09/2020 @ 5:58 pm

          Mainland china maybe, but consumer outside china are less likely to purchase it not because of US China politics. Take south east asia country for example, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand etc. There’s plenty of other Chinese brand that is as affordable like Xiaomi, Oneplus, or any BBK brands here, they have as high market penetration as Huawei right now. They offer both their own chinese appstore and google services without compromises, and it is important.

          People here are very reliant on google services and play store offerings. Some banking apps are not available from app gallery that makes things very difficult here. “Just install Play Store” is definitely out of question. It’s more than just an “APK”, it’s a suit of library and safetynet all secure app depended on. We’ll have to see how Huawei offers app developer to migrate to their secure services.

    • Avatar David Ian Hartnell 09/09/2020 @ 11:07 pm

      It’s not far off from me to be able to use their alternative ecosystem. Most apps or equivalents I need are available from their app store, and the only major gap I have is an Android Auto alternative that gives me mapping and voice dialling and txting. And works with my head unit in car.

      If I get that then I’m ok to stick with Huawei assuming they can still produce the good hardware they have been.

    • Avatar Giancarlo 10/09/2020 @ 5:09 am

      You’re assuming. Huawei is still being bought even without android play store. There are 3rd world countries that will be willing to purchase this especially if the price point is cheaper.

    • Avatar John 10/09/2020 @ 8:43 am

      Somebody tell me a better phone than the P30 pro with Google…… iphones are too small and over priced, Samsung are trying too hard with technology noone wants to pay for and as for the others well……jealousy even manifests in the global arena. Look at the releases Huawei perform and still supports all their model (unlike when others who go from 32 to 64 bit systems and dump users on their derriere???
      Apple and Samsung drip feed the market according to their P&L sheets as a result of their control. I work with apple and own Huawei equipment because it is better.
      If you think that Huawei are a security risk but Google and others aren’t then you are living in cloud cuckoo land!!

  2. Avatar David Gale 09/09/2020 @ 5:05 am

    The genie is out of the bottle and it can’t be put back. No smartphone manufacturing CEO worth their salt is going to leave their entire global business subject to the whim of a US administration. Trump has killed the future of Android and with it perhaps even Google itself.

    • Avatar CS Lee 09/09/2020 @ 4:31 pm

      the world don’t have to dump Android or HOS, dump Trump instead, and everything returns to normal

    • Avatar stephen glynn 10/09/2020 @ 2:27 am

      Not a chance that this is the end of android and gooogle.

      • Avatar skedge 12/09/2020 @ 2:17 am

        David Gale is obviously an imbecile.

  3. Avatar James 09/09/2020 @ 5:27 am

    I’m sure the Uighurs won’t feel that patriotic…sanctions all the way!

    • Avatar JOHANN REYNDERS 09/09/2020 @ 1:19 pm

      Start with Quantamabay. ..and all the war crimes in Iraq Syria and Afganistan.
      Then we will support you.

      • Avatar skedge 12/09/2020 @ 2:19 am

        40 guys left at Guantanamo, a million locked up or thereabouts in Xinjiang. Your head is screwed on wrong.

    • Avatar Rockinda Kasbah 10/09/2020 @ 6:12 am

      Strange…

      So many Yank apologists defend demonic Trump’s Chy-Na policy by feigning pity for Chinese Muslims persecuted by the Chinese government yet have been silent for decades at either America bombing Muslims or indeed at China persecuting Christians and other minorities as well as political dissidents… That combined with similar silence on Trump’s neo-fascist chum in Moscow’s notoriously brutal stance on Muslims, gays and journalists makes me think the only reason you mention Uyghurs is as a convenient political excuse.

  4. Avatar Carl 09/09/2020 @ 6:06 am

    You go Huawei, still by far the best devce of all time out performs any other manufacturer regarding value for money, simplicity, looks, operability, reliability and user friendlyness. Certain Countries can’t afford Samsung, or iphones.

    • Avatar Oz 10/09/2020 @ 7:52 am

      Check out Xiomi/Redmi, won’t be disappointed

  5. Avatar Mosh 09/09/2020 @ 7:10 am

    Necessity is the mother of invention.

    • Avatar Mawuli Akakpo Kwashie 09/09/2020 @ 10:13 am

      So they say

    • Avatar Mbongiseni 09/09/2020 @ 5:43 pm

      Huawei is the future whether Trump likes it or not. Go Huawei!

    • Avatar Rockinda Kasbah 10/09/2020 @ 6:05 am

      I thought Frank Zappa was the mother of invention.

      • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 10/09/2020 @ 8:57 am

        Badum-tish

  6. Avatar David Pearce 09/09/2020 @ 7:20 am

    I will use it. The phones they produce have been the best value phones I have ever used. I am English but live abroad and for value of quality and price, I expect much the same from Harmony. People are brainwashed into not using Huawie phones now, not because of quality issues, but because of political ones. There is a fear that they will outsell compeditors so malicious comments were made to say their products carry Malware, poor bench test results when in fact the phones are true quality. Because of foreign political intentions, many will believe the words of governments and compeditors those people are missing out on a quality manufacturer that’s known for giving real quality and value. The fact that Google and governments sho such rejection, should spell in the minds of everyone that they look upon Huawei as a big threat.

    • Avatar Tan Phillip 09/09/2020 @ 10:59 am

      Only Blind and Brian Damaged using Huawei.
      Even “themselves ” also using ?.

      • Avatar Kuttena Kiavullu 09/09/2020 @ 12:46 pm

        I concur with you, Huawei phone is an irresistible buy vis-a-vis price, performance, looks… Was very skeptical until owning one; not going to be lured that soon to other makes!

      • Avatar Lucia 10/09/2020 @ 12:57 am

        U are not blind nor brainless, but u have an evil heart?

  7. Avatar Nash 09/09/2020 @ 7:39 am

    I’m assuming the Mate 40 series is not Android but Harmony.
    Truth be told, Huawei is an impressive Company. I doubt regardless of the current struggle, it will be defeated?
    Samsung still struggles with storage and reliability isn’t always the case. I’m still using the P10 lite. And I’m still happy, unlike my Aunt with her current A31.
    So i believe Huawei will become Official of what it truly is. A Recommended Brand.

    • Avatar Asif Khan 10/09/2020 @ 2:27 am

      I have Huawei laptop, out performed others.

      Used Honor 8max, impressive.

      Now using Samsung A31s. Its a bit laggy,

  8. Avatar Luckmore Mujukwa 09/09/2020 @ 8:07 am

    I like Huawei and I know that it will over come this scenario of trump cause trump is jealous that his friend Thomas Cook will be left in dark as Huawei taking over apples position

  9. Avatar Mohamed 09/09/2020 @ 8:25 am

    I’m sure the world ? is waiting anxiously for the Harmony os because the world ? is fed up with the monopoly of the other two, atlast very good news from Huawei

  10. Avatar Sthembela 09/09/2020 @ 8:26 am

    Can I ask a question if harmony, will be established on new devices like mate 40 only or even the existing users like p40 pro, p30 pro etc

  11. Avatar Mohamed 09/09/2020 @ 8:27 am

    The world ? is Bigger than the other two hahaha ?

  12. Avatar Subramaniam Mathur 09/09/2020 @ 8:33 am

    Chinese companies instead of piggy-backing on US Tech, should take up the current challenge by fabricating chips that are state of art, and even better (also cheaper) than the chips manufactured by industry leader US.

    Then the rest of the world would automatically beat a path to China’s door.

  13. Avatar John 09/09/2020 @ 8:38 am

    With Harmony being at ’70-80%’ of what Android is NOW? Remember, Android is now in its 11th iteration – which means that, according to my calculations, Harmony is at least as good as Oreo or Pie, which in my book, is very, very good. Give me half a chance to load Harmony on my Huawei phone, and I’ll do it without hesitation. Huawei makes a superb product. Blacklists or not, I think Huawei is going to have the last laugh, coming out stronger than ever before.

    The best of it all? They won’t have to rely on anyone else for any of their tech – hardware- or software-wise. It is unfortunate that so many other companies will suffer, or indeed be forced to change their entire business models (if not forced to either lay off staff or close down completely) as a result of what can only be classified as one man’s complete lunacy.

    I for one, wish Huawei success upon success, and will continue to make use of their technology, even if it means that I would have to use slightly inferior product for what I feel will only be a very short while.

    • Avatar Debbie 09/09/2020 @ 10:02 am

      I totally agree with you John. Am in love with your write up. You are a visionary not everyone will see what is coming. I see the bright future for Huawei. Sometimes you are forced into making what will make you stronger by people who doesn’t like you. I agree with you over and over again. #huaweialltheway!

    • Avatar Adam 09/09/2020 @ 2:11 pm

      The still rely heavily on others for hardware at the moment. For instance Samsung and LG for screen tech and they can’t make their own chips so have to rely on others for that. Plus it is looking like more companies that supply chip controls and other important aspects of a mobile phone are stopping supply or not renewing contracts. This is why no Huawei phone past the Mate40 is to be considered a high end device, which I for one am not happy about. I love my Mate 20 Pro, it has not missed one beat in the 2 years i have had it. They will come out stronger in the long run and fix all these hardware and software issues that currently exist but for the near future they will have to endure and survive.

  14. Avatar Dave Collins 09/09/2020 @ 8:40 am

    I for one will use it if available. Anything to get away from US shit

  15. Avatar Sarawakguy 09/09/2020 @ 9:08 am

    I am outside China and I will use it.

  16. Avatar AYATOU DRIDI 09/09/2020 @ 9:19 am

    The West will try every lie in the book to discredit Huawei for political reasons but i am not a sheep to fall for that. I’m using Huawei Pro 20 for years and i am very happy thank you very much.

  17. Avatar Huawei fan 09/09/2020 @ 9:46 am

    I will continue use no matter what?

  18. Avatar Debbie 09/09/2020 @ 9:56 am

    I like the step Huawei is taking. There is no problem in life that has no solution. The assertion of the writer seems biased. You guys said the same thing when galaxy note was introduced years ago, but today you cough out hundreds of dollars to buy it. I believe in huawei and I know that one day they will overcome this obstacle. It may take time but slow and steady they will get there. Android monopoly must be broken, competition is good in business most especially for consumers who will have variety of choices to make.

  19. Avatar na 09/09/2020 @ 10:13 am

    i goin to use it as well, more competitions the batter, it will not be refined as android or ios but one thing you say catch 22 no development or not enough in the sistem like blackberry and windows will make than one os fail with what i afraid. but i things people will take new platform as long as it open software (i don know anything about it)

  20. Avatar Peter 09/09/2020 @ 10:14 am

    Of all the handphones that I have used the best and reliable is still Huawei.. Huawei is the best so far.. The limitations imposed by usa on Huawei is an opportunity for Huawei to excel.. But it will take some time..

  21. Avatar Cuan Edwin Milton 09/09/2020 @ 10:22 am

    I use p30 pr0 good phone but I will not buy another Chinese phone, don’t like communist China and what they have done with covid and other viruses.

    • Avatar TEOH 09/09/2020 @ 11:34 am

      You must be blind, believing in those lie spreading by us control/bias media… wakeup and expose yourself to other neutral media…..

    • Avatar JC 10/09/2020 @ 12:48 am

      Question. Where are you from? Have you travelled out of your country? For someone to write like this is pure ignorance and shallow. If ever possible visit the vibrant cities of Shanghai Tokyo n Singapore and you will see the future now.

      • Avatar skedge 12/09/2020 @ 2:25 am

        Japan and Singapore have shunned Huawei 5G, walnut brain.

  22. Avatar Young 09/09/2020 @ 10:46 am

    I will continue using Huawei and hope South African service providers continue offering it.
    The Trump vendetta only serves to drive me towards Huawei more and more.

  23. Avatar Wander Louw 09/09/2020 @ 12:33 pm

    Will it work on the hauwei y9 prime ?

  24. Avatar Lucky 09/09/2020 @ 1:22 pm

    #SA. Huawei fan, we Don’t really care about Andriod, Google or OS. All we want its a good phone/laptops that meet our wishes.

    South Africa we Aprove Harmony.
    Huawei#5G.

  25. Avatar Terry 09/09/2020 @ 2:18 pm

    Been using a huawei for more than 2 years and will buy a mate 40 regardless. Trumpy does not like someone better than USA, as he wants america great again and this is against his wishes making more monies from some inferior American produce. It’s a complete lunatic

  26. Avatar MARAKA ANTONY KIMTAI 09/09/2020 @ 2:56 pm

    Huawei has a base with hungry developers.
    USA can try all the avenues to block Huawei but the guys are SMART.
    Even Android was developed not created.
    Harmony OS will also be developed and in the next few years we shall be talking of another fight for Harmony

  27. Avatar Dan Anderson 09/09/2020 @ 3:20 pm

    This comment section isn’t going quite the way you expected, huh? ???

    ❤️Huawei❤️

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 09/09/2020 @ 3:26 pm

      It has exceeded my expectations, as have the reads.

  28. Avatar Toften 09/09/2020 @ 3:37 pm

    With my cheap prized Huawei 2019 prime, I am on top of the world.

  29. Avatar Ox 09/09/2020 @ 5:03 pm

    I think the writer is mistaking the fact that Africa is a huge market for Huawei since along samsung, they provide budget phone for the people. Don’t be surprised when android loose share in Africa and Middle East. America and Europe is not the only occupants of the planet you know.

  30. Avatar Sir Patrick Tayo Adedapo-Aisida 09/09/2020 @ 5:21 pm

    I am addicted to Huawei phones and I have used from my favorite p6 and presently using p20 pro since 2018. I am saving up for p40 pro if it can be available for use in Nigeria. I LOVE HUAWEI PHONES.

  31. Avatar Abubakar 09/09/2020 @ 5:33 pm

    I like Huawei more than any other phone. Am using Huawei y9 prime

    #HUAWEIWESTAND#

  32. Avatar Mike Oguntomi 09/09/2020 @ 5:41 pm

    Huawei phone is my daily driver in everything I do and I’m very pleased and proud about their products which I would contiune on that part no matter the propaganda from the western world. Huawei would be greatest player on every tech to come.

  33. Avatar Mohammad Fairus Jais Bin Abdullah 09/09/2020 @ 6:38 pm

    I stick my gun on android, android is the better if not the best OS,

  34. Avatar Cyberzeus 09/09/2020 @ 6:56 pm

    Android was once a newbie, and it grew, so like wise let’s give the Chinese co the credit of the doubt. You might be surprised. Besides Huawei is already producing some of the best gadgets in the world.

  35. Avatar Kennedy Peter 09/09/2020 @ 8:04 pm

    am happily on my first and low end Huawei y6 and its the best phone have had. Am ready for any Huawei thing be it Harmony, be it demon

  36. Avatar Pk 09/09/2020 @ 9:16 pm

    Huawei is the best, my 2019 prime is serving me well can’t complain. Huawei all through…

  37. Avatar Kevin 09/09/2020 @ 10:33 pm

    My message to Huawei is simple.Steel is forged by fire, continue making products that improve people’s lives and the people will stick with you.Huawei all the way.I bought a Huawei nova 3 and a Huawei p9 lite five years ago.Both are working perfectly fine.Waiting for Mate 40.It is very sad that Britain and other European countries have chosen to follow trump like sheep while he’s clearly on a personal vendetta .

  38. Avatar E H Lim 09/09/2020 @ 11:38 pm

    Trump cannot win. Start planning and doing things without him.

  39. Avatar Nabi Hwesa 09/09/2020 @ 11:46 pm

    Using my Nova 3i, what a beautiful phone. Saving for honorx10

  40. Avatar Dave 10/09/2020 @ 12:05 am

    I have been and still use both IOS and ANDROID, both have there place am rather wary bout 5G and Chinese products, so will try it on a totally independent system and make a call at the performance delivered if faster easier n safer and doesn’t encroach on any od muh rites to freedom hell why not

  41. Avatar Biggus Dickus 10/09/2020 @ 12:23 am

    Love my P30 Pro. Not sure where this notion that it’s less expensive than other flagship phones. Here in ??it costs every bit as much as any iPhone. It’s sad to say this will be my last Huawei device as I’m not going to be going forward minus Google services. I hope the ban is lifted because I do love Huawei hardware.

  42. Avatar George 10/09/2020 @ 4:06 am

    Huawei has best hardware and will have best software not matter what trump says. I am going to buy my next Huawei phone.

  43. Avatar Anonymous 10/09/2020 @ 4:18 am

    I am also a Huawei user. Although the performance of my Y9 prime 2019 phone was not satisfactory for me, I still love it because Huawei has been improving over the past 2 years; its P, Mate and even the Mid-range Nova series are fantastic. It’s just that the build quality, hardware and durability of the Y series needs improvement. My cousin was once using the Huawei p20 and it was so fast it blew me away. I think that as Biden is winning the president election against Trump, everything wiill return normal soon. There will be falls and rises again. Trump is too selfish. For the Google and chipset problem, Trump is way too selfish. It wouldn’t do any good for Americans or US but instead he harmed the US-developed companies, especially in tech such as Google, Android and Qualcomm. It also harmed TSMC from Taiwan which greatly relies on Huawei for money. Google, Android, Qualcomm, TSMC and many other companies are crying because of Trump. They can’t earn money. Even if Trump could keep on having his place as president, China will be so angry and it will do something to stop US instead.

  44. Avatar Nelson C. George 10/09/2020 @ 5:31 am

    Huawei should working hard, I kw very soon what happened to Symbian, Microsoft, BlackBerry,will soon happen to Android. They better leave Huawei before they will leave the market for Huawei.

  45. Avatar Mike Tran 10/09/2020 @ 6:26 am

    Huawei is dead meat, farewell and R.I.P Huawei

  46. Avatar Alx 10/09/2020 @ 7:41 am

    Huawei Y9 2019, so far the best phone I have had ever. Affordable, reliable, fast, great battery… As much as I don’t particularly love the Chinese, hell their phones work for us here in Africa and I think everyone should have a choice to choose what they want. An open market will always dictate preference, if Harmony is a good choice for me am jumping on it as soon as it is available… No room for Trumps dictatorship!

  47. Avatar wang lee 10/09/2020 @ 7:48 am

    Trump has opened pandora box for US. its about time that the Eastern firms should rise and dominate the world. Huawei situation is a wake up call for all eastern companies dealing with western tech. Now they know that they can be bullied anytime. already lot of inside work is going on to remove western tech dependency..

    anticipating that huawei will emerge stronger and will take a big pie from western companies.

  48. Avatar Brian latto 10/09/2020 @ 8:13 am

    I came yo Huawei via an Honor 8 and I am a devotee. The looks, build quality and operation when in use is unparalleled by any other phone currently available. I am using a P20 pro and have no need to update to a newer model because it meets all.my requirements.

  49. Avatar DAVID ALLISTER EARLY 10/09/2020 @ 8:56 am

    Just wondering what the next company who poses a threat to world domination of an American company or product let us see all the proof and also prove that American companies are not up to the same things under American government institutions that Huawei are being accused of

  50. Avatar Dan 10/09/2020 @ 9:04 am

    How can Huawei enroll hardware providers for HarmonyOS ? I mean processor, memory, dispay?
    If they are banned if using Android? Or it will use some chinese providers?

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