Huawei to drop Android, will start shipping smartphones with its HarmonyOS from 2021
Embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei has announced that, starting 2021, its new smartphones will ship with its in-house operating system, HarmonyOS. Thanks to Trump Administration sanctions, the company hasn’t been able to ship smartphones with the official Google version of Android replete with Google Services. Instead, it has resorted to using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version of the operating system without official Google support.
The company first unveiled HarmonyOS last year as a potential ‘Plan B’ given that it has been in the firing line of the US government for allegedly spying for the Chinese government among other allegations. HarmonyOS is built on a microkernel and is progressively being rolled out across Huawei’s internet of things portfolio. The first major product from the company to ship with HarmonyOS was the Honor Vision Smart TV which was launched in the second half of last year. Developers will be able to access a beta from December.
As it is built on a microkernel, HarmonyOS is scalable across multiple platforms and it helps put Huawei firmly in control of its own destiny, at least from an operating system perspective. On other fronts such mobile SoCs and RAM, the company is facing much more significant hurdles. While it has secured short term supplies of many of these components, it cannot source parts from companies using technology that incorporates US design patents -- regardless of where the components are made.