Yesterday, Chinese tech giant Huawei officially unveiled the first devices using the company’s HarmonyOS operating system in a separate event. This will be seen on two new tablets, namely the MatePad Pro and MatePad as well as the Watch 3. From now on it will only be limited to China, with no update regarding shipping to other parts of the world such as Europe or India.
The new operating system carries some risk to Android as, if it goes well, certain Chinese companies could make the switch, which would reduce Android’s overall market share since its inception. In case you missed it, Huawei started working on the operating system after the impact of the U.S. trade ban resulted in the company being unable to use Google’s services for the time being.
The rollout is pretty significant as it paves the way for the company to take on Apple’s iOS, which currently holds a 26% market share, and Google’s Android, which holds 73% (as of May 2021). 2019, with the original research started back in 2012, long before all of these issues came up.
What defines HarmonyOS
For those of you who didn’t know, the most important differentiator that gives HarmonyOS a unique identity is the ability to offer a specific app store called the App Gallery. This is Huawei’s equivalent to Play Store on Android and App Store on iOS, with the app being an open source platform, which basically means developers can deploy apps to the platform and other manufacturers can use the operating system on their devices.
Supported devices include laptops, tablets, phones, watches, and certain other devices. The company states that more than 300 application and service partners, around 1,000 hardware partners, and 500,000 developers worked together to develop the Harmony ecosystem.
Wang Chenglum, president of Huawei’s consumer software business, said that no matter the size of the device, only one system can cover smart devices with memory as small as 128 KB up to 4 GB or more, giving consumers the ultimate interactive experience offers in full scene.
In addition, Huawei has announced that its operating system will be installed on around 300 million devices by the end of 2021, of which around 200 million are Huawei’s own.
The idea of developing its own operating system will alleviate the software-related issues for Huawei, but the issues are far from over as the export restrictions will still affect total sales.