Huawei has big plans for HarmonyOS in 2021

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Huawei held its annual Global Analyst Summit earlier today, where the company dedicated roughly two hours to unpack some of the plans it has for the rest of 2021. Much of the presentations and discussions for the event on three key areas – 5G, autonomous vehicles and HarmonyOS. While the former two elements are set to develop over the coming years, Huawei was able to offer up more definitive targets for HarmonyOS this year.

Rotating chairman Eric Xu explained that the company is aiming for a rather aggressive adoption of HarmonyOS across a myriad ecosystems.

To date we have seen Huawei mention that HarmonyOS is more IoT-focused than strictly being on one type of device. That said, we have only spotted the operating system running on selected Smart TVs in native China.

That is expected to change in 2021, however, as Xu confirms that 20 smartphone vendors and 260 app developers are collaborating to build an ecosystem within HarmonyOS.

Furthermore he buoyantly noted that Huawei expects 40 mainstream brands to run the operating system by the end of the year, which would translate to roughly 100 million devices running HarmonyOS in 2021.

While smartphones, tablets, TVs and other wearables will likely make up that aforementioned 100 million figure, autonomous and connected vehicles could also become a part of that ecosystem in future. Huawei has been rumoured to be working on its own self-driving car, as have many Chinese technology companies of late but, for now, the focus appears to be on the software instead of the hardware.

“As an ICT company, we want to provide ICT capabilities for future autonomous and electric vehicles. We also hope to create new business models,” added Xu.

What this means for Huawei’s mobile business is unclear for now, as the ongoing sanctions with the United States continue to scupper any efforts to bring new devices to markets outside of China.

The company has long stated that it will continue to use Android as a backbone for Huawei Mobile Services as an alternative to a lack of Google Play and app support, but how HarmonyOS will factor into the ecosystem, remains to be seen. As such, it will be interesting to see whether the company does indeed follow through on launching a smartphone running HarmonyOS exclusively this year.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.

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