HarmonyOS, huawei’s self-developed operating system to replace Google Android, will face many challenges when it starts to be available on smartphones.
In mid-2019, Huawei launched its own operating system called HarmonyOS due to the US banning the use of Google software. This is the most ambitious “kick” in Huawei’s mobile software sector in hopes of helping the smartphone division survive.
On February 22, Huawei announced that HarmonyOS would begin launching on its smartphones from April. Users of Huawei phones are downloaded as updates. A company spokesperson confirmed international users could also download it. The Mate X2 folding screen smartphone model was among the first devices to receive HarmonyOS.
In 2019, Huawei was named on the US trade blacklist, banning American businesses from exporting technology to the Chinese company. Google had to cut ties with Huawei, meaning Huawei could no longer use Google Android on smartphones. This isn’t a big deal in China, where Google apps like Gmail have been banned. However, in foreign markets, where Android is the most popular operating system, it is really a shock.
President Donald Trump’s administration also expanded the ban to block key chip access, causing great damage to the Chinese company’s smartphone sales. Huawei needs to source new chips for smartphones, but HarmonyOS is also another “critically important” part to ensure the life of Huawei smartphones, according to analyst Nicole Peng of research firm Canalys.
HarmonyOS works on a variety of devices, from smartphones to televisions, Huawei said. Last September, the second version of the operating system was introduced, and Huawei urged the developer to write an application for the platform.
To attract users, Huawei redesigned the AppGallery app market interface and improved navigation functionality. Built-in search makes it easier for people to explore the app. In addition, the company sends updates to existing users that will drive international usage. AppGallery has over 530 million active monthly users.
The application is extremely necessary with the mobile operating system. Apple iOS and Google Android dominate the market thanks to millions of developers producing apps for their respective platforms. Huawei also has a set of applications such as browsers, maps in the Huawei Mobile Servics (HMS) package. HMS is similar to Google Mobile Services, which provides developer tools for integrating things like location services into apps. 2.3 million people have signed up for HMS globally.
In China, Huawei can bring many popular applications. However, abroad, the company can face many challenges. For example, its app market lacks big names such as Google, Facebook. Users can only download Facebook from the website instead of the app available in the market such as Apple, Google.
Bryan Ma, IDC’s Vice President of Device Research, said that if Huawei wants to sell phones successfully overseas, they need the right apps, which are not easy to get on HarmonyOS. Therefore, it is important to access Google Mobile Services again. Besides, according to analyst Peng, headed by Android and iOS, Huawei has a difficult task of persuading people to switch.