Huawei the Chinese tech giant launched its own operating system to rival Android after U.S. sanctions; Samsung and Microsoft failed in similar challenges. Two years after Huawei was added to the U.S entity list that banned the Chinese telecom giant from accessing U.S. technologies, including Android developer services from Google, Huawei’s alternative smartphone operating system was unveiled. Harmony has been around since 2019, but this is the second gen version and will run on a much broader array of Huawei products. 

Huawei officially launched its proprietary operating system HarmonyOS for mobile phones. The firm started building the operating system in 2016 and began letting developers create HarmonyOS-compatible applications for tablets, electric vehicles, and smartwatches last September.

Huawei says that HarmonyOS is not looking to replace or corner the Android market but rather, its application is more far reaching. HarmonyOS is powering not just phones and tablets but an increasing number of smart devices. In other words, they look to create a much larger ecosystem to build out an integrated network of devices that aim to work in sync with each other. The Chinese technology giant has looked to pivot to software and focus on other consumer electronics like wearables and tablets to boost revenue as U.S. sanctions have hurt other businesses.

Although this may be true, many are reluctant to call HarmonyOS the Android alternative and stating that HarmonyOS is pretty much Android with only a few cosmetic changes. Tech Advisor followed this sentiment by saying “Huawei's own documentation and marketing surrounding HarmonyOS suggest that it serves as a complete end-to-end replacement for Android on its smartphones and tablets”.

However, on the other end of the spectrum a recent review by Tachrader states “Having used Android phones along with Wear OS, Google Chromecast and more, which often have connection problems and issues which make them frustrating to use, I really appreciate the seamless form of connectivity that HarmonyOS offers.”

At the moment Huawei is still conducting rollouts and updates to complement their end to end strategy of seamlessly syncing all of its various devices but as for the system itself winning over users, the jury is still out. I guess you could say ultimately, it’s too soon to tell if in fact Huawei’s new operating system and Android can still live in perfect Harmony.

For even more info on this, check out our first story here.

  1. What is HarmonyOS?
  2. I finally 'get' Huawei's HarmonyOS