Richard Yu, CEO of the Consumer Division at Huawei, delivered a keynote address at the Huawei Developers Conference on September 10, 2020. Huawei has released another version of its HarmonyOS operating system.
GUANGZHOU, China – Huawei on Thursday launched a second version of its own operating operating system, pushing it to third-party device makers as it looks to make it a viable alternative to Google’s Android.
Last year, Huawei rolled out its own cross-device operating operating system, HarmonyOS. The company is based in the U.S. The entity came after it was placed on a list, a blacklist that banned some U.S. companies from selling their products to Chinese tech companies.
Google suspended business with Huawei, forcing the company to release flagship smartphones without a licensed version of the US company’s Android operating operating system. It’s not a big deal in China where Google services like Gmail or Search are blocked. But, it is important in Huawei’s international markets where consumers are used to using such applications.
While Huawei became the world’s number one smartphone maker in the second quarter, most of it was thanks to the China market with its huge population, while international markets saw a sharp decline.
The latest move is designed to increase the number of developers on board by increasing the number of HarmonyOS users. Ultimately, a strong developer and user base will benefit Huawei if it eventually uses HarmonyOS on its own smartphones, something it hasn’t done yet.
Huawei identifies HarmonyOS as a mobile operating operating system that can operate on a number of different devices. The company claims that developers only need to create a version of the application that harbors multiple parts of the hardware.
On Thursday, Huawei launched HarmonyOS 2.0 and said that the beta version of the September operating system will be open from September 10 for devices such as smartwatches, TVs and car-head units and for the developing operating system for smartphones in December.
From that date, developers will be able to experiment and develop applications for HarmonyOS.
“Maybe starting next year we’ll see smartphones with HarmonyOS,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer division, during a keynote speech on Thursday.
Huawei’s own smartphones do not yet use HarmonyOS.
Brian Mae, vice president of devices research at IDC, said that in the event of similar restrictions on Google’s use, device makers might be interested in keeping the harmonies as a “f-back option,” but they may not want to work with Huawei.
“On the other hand, they will think twice about working with an arch-rival who has aggressively competed with them in China over the last year. I think they will explore their options but how the US is not more clear there. “Policy may change next year,” Mae told CNBC via email.
Question mark abroad
Right now the two largest mobile operating operating systems – Google Android and Apple’s iOS – have succeeded because they have millions of developers creating apps for their respective app stores.
Huawei is working on building a base for its high quality apps. By opening HarmonyOS on more devices, Huawei hopes to get the operating system of as many devices as possible and increase the number of users. It will make it more attractive for developers to create apps. If Huawei eventually uses Harmony on its own smartphone, it will want an operating operating system that is as strong as possible.
The Chinese giant has its own app store and other services like Maps under the banner called Huawei Mobile Services (HMS). HMS is similar to Google Mobile Services and offers a developer kit that can be used to integrate things like location services into apps.
Huawei said 96,000,000 applications are associated with HMS, the last time such figures were released to the public since May, 2000,000. The board also has 1.8 million developers, up from 1.4 million in May.
Huawei built the U.S. HarmonyOS as a way for Chinese developers to deliver their applications to overseas customers, presumably. Indicated that Huawei wants to take the operating system globally. UA, meanwhile, said it hopes HarmonyOS can help international developers serve Chinese customers.
“We want to be a bridge between us,” UA said.
What’s unclear at the moment is when Huawei may launch HarmonyOS on its own smartphones, a requirement that has become more pressing since it was cut off from Google last year.
Experts have previously questioned the potential success of HarmonyOS in international markets, saying it lacks key apps like Spotify or Netflix and that Google is unlikely to put its own apps on Huawei’s software.
Huawei, meanwhile, is facing issues beyond software. The U.S. amended a rule requiring foreign chipmakers to use American equipment to make components to obtain a license from Washington before selling semiconductors to Huawei. This has cut Huawei off from its main chips maker, TSMC, which could have a huge impact on its ability to make moves or make smartphones and other devices. Huawei also has very few options.