Business Insider Edition

Huawei just introduced a new operating system - but current users won’t be able to change yet

James de Villiers , Business Insider SA
 Aug 10, 2019, 08:56 AM
Huawei’s Head of Software Marketing Jonathon Zhang
Huawei’s Head of Software Marketing Jonathon Zhang in Dongguan, China, on Saturday.
  • Huawei’s head of software marketing said users will not be able to download the company’s new operating system Harmony. 
  • The company will see how the platform develops before considering allowing users to change. 
  • Huawei, however, said current Android users do not risk losing access to Google if the US blocks the company. 
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA

Huawei users around the world, including South African users, will not be able to upgrade to the mobile manufacturer’s new operating system Harmony, Huawei’s Head of Software Marketing Jonathon Zhang revealed on Saturday. 

Huawei launched Harmony at its annual developer conference on Friday, but plans to continue using Google’s Android due to the vast application ecosystem it offers consumers. 

If the United States does, however, block companies from working with Huawei, and Google retracts its Android licence, the Chinese manufacturer will switch to Harmony. 

Also read: Huawei hopes to replace Android with its new operating system – here’s how South Africa will be affected

Speaking at a media briefing at the developer conference, Zhang said there are currently no plans to allow current Huawei users to “upgrade” to Harmony. 

In response to questions from Business Insider South Africa, Zhang said Huawei might reconsider allowing users to download Harmony, pending on how the platform develops. 

Huawei is only planning to start using Harmony in 2021, starting with wearable devices such as smart watches. 

Zhang said current Huawei users will be able to continue using Android even if the company loses its Google licence. 

This is because of Android’s functionality for security updates on all phones it’s installed on, he said. 

All phones with Android already installed will therefore not be affected by a United States (US) ban, but all Huawei devices after a US ban will not be able to run Android. 

The US briefly blocked US companies from working with Huawei in May, where Google suspended Huawei’s Android licence.

The Huawei-ban was lifted as the US continues trade negotiations with China. 

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

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