Huawei will start pre-installing its Harmony Operating System on its smartphones from 2021. The Chinese company announced that it would also offer the OS to other manufacturers as an alternative to Android.
Huawei is currently the world’s second best smartphone seller, even though it beat Samsung to top this year’s numbers following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Google and Apple have dominated the market with Android OS smartphones accounting for 85.4 percent of shipments last year and iOS phones for 14.6 percent of the shipments in the same period.
The move by Huawei comes amid growing tensions which saw the US impose sanctions against the Chinese company. Subsequently, the US banned trade with the company and the UK also cut its 5G links with the telecom infrastructure firm. Huawei can therefore no longer offer Android or Google on its latest devices although the restriction does not specifically touch on the OS.
The OS will allow developers build upon an open source version of the OS, similar to that of Android.
“As of today the project only supports devices with 128MB of RAM or below, but that’ll expand to 4GB in April of next year, and the memory limit will be removed completely by October 2021.” Huawei said.
The trade ban has not affected the Huawei Chinese market due to the fact that Google services are blocked in the country. However, the demand for the company’s most recent phones globally has weakened substantially due to the popularity of Google services.
According to an expert, the success of the new operating system will depend on how many manufacturers Huawei could convince to come on board.
“This move will be supported by the Chinese government because it fits into its wider Made In China 2025 strategy,” Marta Pinto, an expert, said.
“But it will only take off elsewhere if other Chinese vendors, such as Xiaomi and Oppo, adopt it.
“Even then, it will still be a challenge in geographies like Western Europe and Latin America, where so many people and businesses rely on Google’s products.”