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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Huawei opens Harmony OS to rival hardware makers in bid to gain market share

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Huawei’s Hamony OS is spreading its wings.

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FRED DUFOUR/AFP via Getty Images

Huawei said that it would open up its operating system, Harmony OS 2.0, to third-party hardware manufacturers, including rivals, on Thursday, as part of an effort to bolster the number of users and potentially take market share from Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. 

“The milestone we’re marking is that we’re supporting Huawei devices from Harmony OS 2.0, but at the same time Harmony OS 2.0 may also be available to other vendors’ devices,” Wang Chenglu, president of Huawei’s consumer business group’s software department said at the company’s annual developer conference in the Chinese city of Dongguan on Thursday.

“Harmony OS 2.0 will be available to all hardware manufacturers.” 

The Chinese company also said that a beta version of the operating system will be available across several device categories including smart watches, televisions starting Thursday, with plans to rollout the OS to smartphones in December. 

Huawei’s move is likely aimed to get “wider acceptance”or Harmony OS among users, which would then attract more app developers, said Kiranjeet Kaur, a senior analyst at IDC, in an email to .

“But I am a bit skeptical on how many would actually adopt it considering that Huawei is actually a competitor,” Kaur said.  “Although some Chinese players may keep it as a backup option if they face same similar constraints in global markets and if Harmony OS gets more popular in the China.”

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The Huawei Mate 30 Pro was released last year without the Google’s proprietary apps including Gmail and Google Maps.


Ian Knighton

In the same conference, Huawei also announced that Harmony OS 2.0 would begin running on its own phones starting next year, marking a change of course for the world’s largest smartphone maker, which earlier said it intended to stick with Android unless it was forced off by US sanctions.

Huawei first introduced Harmony last year, in the wake of its addition to the US entity list that prevented American companies from doing business with the Chinese phone maker. The US trade ban left Huawei’s phones without the full power of Google Mobile Services and a suite of popular Google’s proprietary apps including Gmail, Google Play Store, and Google Maps.

Huawei said 96,000 apps are integrated with Huawei Mobile Services — an increase from 60,000 in May, which was the last time the company publicly released this figure. The company also revealed that there are 1.8 million develops on board, up from 1.4 million in May. Even when taking that progress into account, it represents a small fraction compared to the numbers of app developers on either iOS or Android, which have dominated the mobile operating system market for years.

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