Huawei’s own operating system, Harmony OS, is almost upon us and it is now clear which phones will run it.
Huawei is about to unveil its latest flagship phones, the Mate 40 Series. The four phones in the series will, like the most recent handsets from the company, launch with open-source Android but without Google Mobile Services such as Gmail, Google Play Store and Google Maps, because of the ongoing issues between the company and the U.S. Government.
These issues prevent American companies, such as Google, from having business dealings with the Chinese brand.
So, Harmony OS is waiting in the wings to replace Google, offering a wholly new operating system that Huawei can control completely. The company claims Harmony (aka Hongmeng) is a much faster, more efficient OS than Android.
At the recent Huawei Developers’ Conference, picked up by Huawei Central, the roadmap of plans suggests that Harmony OS 2.0 will initially support devices with small amounts of RAM (128MB) which means IoT devices, smart wearables and more.
But next year, that support will spread to entry-level smartphones and tablets with up to 4GB of RAM, and by the end of 2021 will support flagship phones, too.
However, in a leak from a Weibo tipster, it seems that the upgrade process will also be determined by the chip in the smartphone and the first batch will be phones using the upcoming Kirin 9000 chipset. That would mean the Mate 40 Series, which use the Kirin 9000, will be the first phones to be upgraded to Harmony OS. The second chipset to be eligible is the Kirin 990 5G, which is found in the most recent phones, the Mate 30 and P40, for instance.
It’s claimed that the first phones will be upgraded to Harmony OS 2.0 in January or February 2021, with the full update to follow.
The initial list of phones expected to run Harmony OS is extensive and will change, but the priority is expected to be those handsets with Android plus Huawei Mobile Services rather than earlier phones with Google Mobile Services on board. These include Mate 40 Series, Mate X, Mate Xs, P40 Series, Mate 30 Series (4G and 5G) and the upcoming Nova 8 and Nova 8 Pro.
Huawei Central believes the Mate 20 Series, Nova 7 Series and Nova 6 Series will also qualify, though it’s worth noting that some of those have Google Mobile Services so may be later.
Honor, the sub-brand of Huawei, will also get Harmony OS, it’s claimed, on the upcoming Honor V40 as well as the 30 Series, V30 Series, Play 4 Pro, X10 5G and some earlier handsets. Wearables and tablets will also be included, such as the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro and Huawei MatePad Pro and MatePad Pro 5G, plus the Honor Tablet V6.
There’s something very exciting about the prospect of an entirely new phone operating system, designed to be efficient and open-source. It is possible that if Huawei gives it enough support that over time – quite a long time, I suspect – it could be an intriguing third option. If it’s able to snag the apps that everyone wants, then it could be successful. Of course, being able to run Google Maps, Gmail and Play Store seem highly unlikely, which may be a mortal blow for the OS outside China.
Which is why it will doubtless be launched in China first, with an international release to follow later, perhaps much later.
What we do know is that it will look pretty much identical to the current EMUI overlay Huawei puts on top of Android. Huawei says it will design a similar interface for Harmony OS, so that users have no problem adapting from one to the other.
Lots of questions remain and this is a fluid situation, so much will change between now and the OS’s release.
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