Huawei’s new HarmonyOS is a smart device-focused operating system

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While many in South Africa were celebrating National Women’s Day last week, Huawei was hosting its annual developer’s conference. The notable announcement during the event came in the form of a new operating system which the Chinese firm is calling HarmonyOS.

With Huawei rumoured to have its own mobile operating system in the works, HarmonyOS is not designed for smartphones, but rather other smart devices, like smartwatches, TVs and speakers.

As such this is a similar move to what Samsung has done with Tizen, although it’s worth noting that the South Korean company has since utilised the OS in a handful of phones.

It’s therefore not outside the realm of possibility that Huawei chooses to pivot HarmonyOS to phones, but now it remains focused on smart devices.

To that end Huawei explains that is new operating system is different from what competitors offer in the market, with HarmonyOS being able to work across a multitude of platforms, the firm explains. Does that mean it could be used for an IoT ecosystem?

While Huawei did not comment on that, the company did unpack some of the technical aspects that HarmonyOS is built upon.

“HarmonyOS is completely different from Android and iOS. It is a microkernel-based, distributed OS that delivers a smooth experience across all scenarios. It has trustworthy and secure architecture, and it supports seamless collaboration across devices. You can develop your apps once, then flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices,” noted Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group.

“HarmonyOS is a lightweight, compact operating system with powerful functionality, and it will first be used for smart devices like smart watches, smart screens, in-vehicle systems, and smart speakers. Through this implementation Huawei aims to establish an integrated and shared ecosystem across devices, create a secure and reliable runtime environment, and deliver a holistic intelligent experience across every interaction with every device,” the firm added.

For now there has been no official timeline for a launch of HarmonyOS, but it has already been spotted as the native operating system on some upcoming Honor Smart TVs, set to debut in China.

As for when those residing outside of China will be able to experience HarmonyOS remains to be seen, but with South Africa being one of Huawei’s key regions, we’re expecting to hear announcements in the not too distant future.

With Huawei likely to debut new hardware at IFA at the beginning of September, it could prove a solid platform to reveal HarmonyOS-sporting devices.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.