When it comes to smartphones, there are really only two options to choose from: iOS and Android.
Other operating systems do exist – including one that had the misfortune of being named Sailfish OS – but no one really uses them.
Huawei is hoping to change that, however.
On 2 June 2021, the Chinese tech giant introduced the new HarmonyOS (Version 2.0), an operating system that will soon power its new smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets.
After nearly 15 years of using iOS and Android, what would a brand new operating system look like?
Well, here are 10 facts about HarmonyOS, the operating system Huawei fans will soon be using, because yes, new Huawei users won’t have the choice to choose Andriod anymore.
If you prefer to watch a video about this OS instead, here’s a video we’ve done. Watch till the end to know how many phones will be installed with this OS by the end of this year!
It’s Huawei’s Own Operating System, Rivalling Android and iOS
HarmonyOS is Huawei’s very own operating system, much like Apple’s iOS or Microsoft’s Windows.
It was originally named HongMengOS, but was later changed because the name was already registered.
Described as “a future-proof distributed operating system”, it’s designed to work on a range of devices, including smart home products, wearables, smartphones, and even tablets and laptops.
Version 1.0 was launched two years ago and ran on the company’s own smart TVs and its AX3 WiFi router.
Version 2.0, which was officially launched on 2 June 2021, will rival Android and iOS.
Other Smartphone Companies Can Use HarmonyOS
As HarmonyOS is an open-source platform, other smartphone companies can use HarmonyOS if they wish.
Given that Huawei is now the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer – after overtaking Samsung last year – other manufacturers may want to tap into their new operating system if it becomes as popular as their smartphones.
In other words, don’t be surprised if Samsung phones come with HarmonyOS in 2029, when Singapore is in its Phase 71 of its reopening.
It’s Huawei’s Solution to the Google Ban
Unlike bubble tea chains, new operating systems don’t pop up every day. HarmonyOS was likely created out of necessity rather than the desire for innovation.
In 2019, former US President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning the use of telecommunications equipment from foreign companies deemed a national security risk.
This included Huawei, even though they weren’t named.
Four days later, Google announced they would be complying with Trump’s Huawei ban, meaning Huawei wouldn’t have access to fundamental Google services.
Huawei tried their best to fight back, but eventually gave up, and even had to sell its budget Honor smartphone brand to cushion the financial blow of the US ban.
Consequently, Huawei couldn’t use Google-owned services and products in its phones, but it could still use Android, as it’s an open-source OS.
So, Huawei had three options:
- Give users a Google-less Android experience
- Give up on smartphones and start making toasters
- Launch their own operating system
The Chinese tech company went with the last option, which still means that…
You Won’t Be Able to use YouTube and other Google Apps on It
If you purchase a new Huawei phone with HarmonyOS, you’ll find it a little more cumbersome to watch your 15 daily cute cat videos.
HarmonyOS will not have access to Google services, and so users won’t be able to download apps such as Gmail or YouTube.
Instead, the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) – which is a replacement for Google’s services – offers shortcuts to the mobile sites of such services.
Android Apps Can Work With HarmonyOS, As Long As Developers Are Interested
Since HarmonyOS is an open-source platform, Android apps will be able to work within Harmony OS.
For this to happen, however, developers have to be interested in doing the work to make a version specifically for HarmonyOS.
Huawei may not have too much trouble finding keen developers, though.
To date, more than 500,000 developers are building applications based on HarmonyOS, according to Tech Crunch.
Goody Feed has an app, and according to our developer, as long as you’ve an app built for Andriod, it’s not difficult to make one for Huawei phones since most of the codes are similar, unlike the stark difference between Andriod and iOS.
HarmonyOS Aims to Create a Perfect Ecosystem For a Seamless Experience
Whenever you present facts to an Apple user about why it makes more financial sense to purchase an Android phone, they’ll start repeating one word like a deranged parrot: ecosystem.
In the tech world, an ecosystem is a family of devices and services designed to work seamlessly with one another.
Apple is known for their ecosystem, which is one of the reasons users keep going back to them.
Well, Huawei is taking this one step further.
With HarmonyOS, Huawei aims to create the perfect ecosystem where users will be treated to a completely seamless experience when switching between devices.
Users will get more fluid movement and casting across different devices. Essentially, multiple devices will operate as one.
It’ll Allow Apps to Move Between Devices Without the Need to Install Them on All Devices
For example, the Task Centre allows you to use apps on different devices without having to install them on all devices.
So, if you’re playing a game on your smartphone, you can seamlessly transfer it to a HarmonyOS tablet without having to download the app there.
It Includes a Brand New Control Centre
One of the most notable features of HarmonyOS is its brand new control centre.
With it, users can have what’s called a “Universal Card”, which displays information from an app on a phone all the time, without having to go to the app itself.
For instance, if you wanted to check your alarms for the next morning before going to bed, you’d head to the Clock app and scroll through your alarms, right?
Well, this would take around 3 seconds, and those are 3 lost seconds of beauty sleep you can never get back.
With the new Universal Card, function, you can have your active alarms displayed on the home screen all the time, for example.
It’s Like a Mix of Android & iOS
Those who have used HarmonyOS say there are some similarities to Android, with some going as far as to call it an Android fork.
When arsTechinca used the new operating system, they said it was “identical to what Huawei ships on its Android phones”.
Tech Advisor says it also has a few iOS/iPadOS features in it.
In response to these criticisms, Huawei denied that HarmonyOS is a derivative of Android and said that not a single line of code is identical to that of Android.
HarmonyOS May Be Deployed to 400 Million Devices This Year
A few days ago, most of us had no idea what HarmonyOS even was. But by the end of this year, the new operating system could power 400 million devices, Huawei said.
This is in line with its plans to develop more software to reduce the impact of the US ban on its overall business.
According to The Verge, the first few phones to be powered by HarmonyOS will be the Mate 40, P40, and Mate 30 series. It will later be released on more devices later in the year.
The only question here is: are users ready to ditch the tried and trusted Android and iOS for something brand new?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Featured Image: ThamKC / Shutterstock.com