Business Insider Edition

Huawei may replace Android with its new operating system – here’s how South Africa will be affected

James de Villiers , Business Insider SA
 Aug 09, 2019, 07:24 PM
The main stage at the Huawei developer confrence i
The main stage at the Huawei developer conference in Dongguan, China.
  • Huawei announced a new operating system Harmony which will not work on Android on Friday.
  • Huawei said the new operating system will reduce its reliance on Google’s Android.
  • For now, South African buyers of Huawei phones won't get Harmony, and phones will still  come with Android.
  • Huawei watches will probably start to come with Harmony in 2021.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA

Huawei, the world’s second largest mobile manufacturer, announced a new operating system Harmony on Friday. 

The new open source operating system will reduce the company’s reliance on Android. 

The US briefly blocked companies from doing work with Huawei in May, which forced Google to revoke Huawei’s Android license during that time.

Speaking at Huawei’s annual developer conference, Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu said Huawei is launching Harmony, not only to reduce the company’s reliance on Google’s Android, but also to simplify the coding base for a growing number of devices.

An example of how one app built on Harmony code wi
An example of how one app built on Harmony code will be able to scale on different device categories.

He said currently operating systems are fragmented for every single device category, which means that a developer has to build an application for each device category it operates on.

Facebook, for example, has to build an application for a watch, a second one for a cellphone, a third one for tabled, a fourth for television, fifth for augmented reality, and sixth for internet-of-things because of coding differences. 

With Harmony, Huawei hopes that developers will be able to build only one application on one code-base and scale it among different device categories.

However, all apps that have been designed for Android and iOS will now also have to be developed in Harmony. 

Yu said Harmony will be ready for consumers by next year, but consumers around the world, including South Africa, will continue to buy Huawei phones using Google’s Android.

Development of the operating system will near completion in 2021 whereafter Huawei will start rolling out Harmony on devices starting with wearables such as smartwatches.  

In the event that the United States does, however, block companies from doing business with Huawei, the company will switch over to its newly announced Harmony platform for all, he said.  

“We called it Harmony because we want to bring more harmony and convenience to the world,” Yu said. 

It is unclear if existing Huawei phones will receive Harmony, or if consumers will be able to upgrade to Harmony.

More details are expected to be released on the Saturday of the Huawei’s developer congress. 

Yu admitted that Huawei sales have been affected by global sanctions, but said despite the global pressure it was able to increase sales by 24%.

How Huawei has been able to grow its global and Ch
How Huawei has been able to grow its global and Chinese market share since 2017.
Huawei's smartphone sales growth since 2010.
Huawei's smartphone sales growth since 2010.

Huawei now has 530 million active worldwide users, up from 420 million a year ago.

This number would’ve been higher, and Huawei would’ve been the world’s largest smartphone maker if it wasn’t for global pressures, Yu said.

Huawei South Africa paid for James de Villiers’ trip to its developers’ world congress in Dongguan, China.

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