Huawei launches own operating system to rival Android

August 10, 2019

Dongguan, China: Chinese telecom giant Huawei unveiled its own operating system on Friday, as it faces the threat of losing access to Android systems amid escalating US-China trade tensions.
The highly-anticipated software is considered crucial for the tech group’s survival as it confronts a looming White House ban on US companies selling technology products to Huawei which could remove its access to Google’s Android operating system.
Richard Yu, the head of Huawei’s consumer business, revealed HarmonyOS or HongMeng in Chinese at a press conference in the southern city of Dongguan.
He said the first version would launch later this year in its smart screen products, before expanding across a range of smart devices including wearable technology over the next three years.
“If you’re asking when will we apply this to the smartphone, we can do it at any time,” said Yu, adding that they gave priority to using Google’s Android operating system.
“However, if we cannot use it (Android) in the future, we can immediately switch to the HarmonyOS,” he said.
Yu said HarmonyOS was “future oriented” and designed to be “more smooth and secure”, which he said was “completely different” from Android and Apple operating systems.
The company has been swept into the deepening trade war between Beijing and Washington which has seen punitive tariffs slapped on billions of dollars of two-way trade.
Huawei — considered the world leader in superfast fifth-generation or 5G equipment and the world’s number two smartphone producer — has been blacklisted by US President Donald Trump amid suspicions it provides a backdoor for Chinese intelligence services, something the firm denies.
As a result, American companies are theoretically no longer allowed to sell technology products to the firm, but a three-month exemption period — which ends next week — was granted by Washington before the measure came into force.

Omanobserver