Huawei to replace Google on smartphones as it faces U.S. threat

Saturday, 12 Sep, 2020

This means that Huawei needs an alternative and they need it fast, which is why during the company's annual developers conference in China, Huawei's head of consumer business group Richard Yu announced that starting in 2021, the company will start bringing Harmony OS to its smartphones. HarmonyOS is so far used only with certain products, including smart TVs, in-car entertainment systems and wearable devices, not the company's smartphones.

Mr Yu said the company shipped 240 million smartphones past year, which gave it a second-place market ranking in 2019, but added that software shortages had hurt sales in recent months and shipments fell to 105 million units in the first-half.

Harmony OS, which Huawei has been developing as a rival to Android software used on billions of smartphones, comes after the Chinese giant was blocked from using USA technology on its phones.

Huawei showed off the first version of Harmony OS at HDC 2019.

A Huawei executive says recent USA sanctions against the company have caused a shortage of computer chips for the company, hurting the growth of its smartphone business. The first handsets to support it can be expected next year, Yu said.

"It is a microkernel-based, distributed operating system that delivers a smooth experience across all scenarios. You can develop your apps once, then flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices". The new version of EMUI also uses the core structure of Huawei's HarmonyOS that would help the company eventually move from the Android to its proprietary offering that is made out of scratch.

Specifically, the P40 Pro maker will target an October 2021 release for HarmonyOS. "Ovens, fridges, cars and many other third-party products with HarmonyOS 2.0 will be available soon", Wang said.

To cope with Washington's restrictions on the use of Google Mobile Services, Huawei has also been working hard to build the ecosystem for Huawei Mobile Services, better known as HMS, which is the foundation of its ability to sell smart devices in overseas markets. It also announced plans to offer the software for other phone makers to put on their devices.

The company first unveiled its proprietary HarmonyOS previous year which it has billed as a multi-device platform across watches, laptops and mobiles, rather than as a like-for-like challenger to Google's Android mobile OS.