Huawei has once again introduced us to HarmonyOS, after doing the same a couple of years ago, this time in the hands of a lot of devices with HarmonyOS inside. None of them is mobile and, although the Huawei P50s have made a brief appearance in the presentation, they have limited themselves to showing an image without details or release date.
HarmonyOS has been described on several occasions as Huawei’s Plan B to weather the storm caused by the US veto, although two years after its first presentation and four years after the start of its development, it still does not come standard in a news release. The operating system for everything chokes the main reason for its existence: mobile phones.
Brief history of HarmonyOS
According to statements collected by Huawei Central, the development of its own operating system by Huawei began in 2012, although during its first official presentation, in 2019, a more conservative date was given: it had been in development for two years, that is, since 2017. However, the veto of the United States was the trigger that accelerated the process.
harmony was presented as a microkernel operating system, the same concept as Google’s also mysterious Fuchsia. This microkernel includes the basics and common to all devices and components are added to add compatibility with countless hardware. In practice, it allows the operating system to adapt to all types of devices.
In a progressive deployment, HarmonyOS first reached Honor televisions and later integrated them into routers and other gadgets. The operating system officially supports smart car displays, watches, headphones, mobiles, tablets, and basically any smart device. The more complex mobile version was expected by the end of 2020, and first in China.
Indeed, HarmonyOS was officially launched as a mobile beta in December 2020, although limited to China and for five devices: four mobiles and a tablet, to which a couple more were later added. HarmonyOS could be installed in beta form on these terminals, although it was practically indistinguishable from Android. Later analysis with its emulated version revealed that, in essence, HarmonyOS was Android.
We come today, June 2, to the great HarmonyOS party. Two years after its debut, Huawei seems to be satisfied enough with its OS to present it again not as an idea, but as a finished product or almost. It comes with a good number of new releases with HarmonyOS, but mobiles are going to have to wait.
In return, we have HarmonyOS in televisions, smartwatches, routers and headphones, all of the devices that generally do not pay much attention to what operating system they carry as long as they work correctly. Huawei already used its own system for its smartwatch, Huawei Lite OS, so the replacement is not really Android, but other solutions.
HarmonyOS for mobile is moving forward, that’s clear. The company has renamed the Weibo profile from EMUI to HarmonyOS, which basically leaves EMUI for dead and buried. Now, at the moment that plan to replace Android with something ” up to 60% faster ” seems to have lost some steam along the way. In return, we have a possible change from EMUI to HarmonyOS on already launched terminals.
Against this background, the big question that remains in the air is whether Huawei inflated the importance of HarmonyOS in the beginning or if in the end, it has decided to lower the bar to settle for replacing EMUI instead of Android. What is the use of creating an operating system to be able to continue selling mobiles, if mobiles are not sold with it? We will have to keep waiting to be able to say that “the first mobile with HarmonyOS is already official”.