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Huawei launches Harmony OS for phones


Huawei will begin rolling out HarmonyOS on a limited number of smartphone models, giving consumers the option to upgrade from the existing Android Platform-based operating system..

The use of HarmonyOS means the company will no longer be wholly reliant on Android. U.S. sanctions banned Alphabet Inc's Google from providing technical support to new Huawei phone models and access to Google Mobile Services, the bundle of developer services upon which most Android apps are based.

Huawei is aiming to have HarmonyOS on 200 million smartphones and 100 million third-party smart devices by the end of the year, said Wang Chenglu, president of Huawei Consumer Business Group's software department, who has led Huawei's efforts to develop HarmonyOS since 2016.

China's leading telecommunications equipment maker found itself on a U.S. trade blacklist in May 2019 due to national security concerns. Huawei has repeatedly denied it is a risk.

The ban put Huawei's handset business under immense pressure. Once the world's biggest smartphone maker, Huawei is now ranked sixth, with a 4% market share in the first quarter.

The presentation did not feature any new smartphones, although a company press release said two older high-end models would be re-released.

The company is looking into providing upgrades for some components like batteries for users with older phones, Yu said.

Wang said he would welcome other smartphone makers adopting HarmonyOS, but added Huawei sees big opportunities in working with makers of non-smartphone devices.

Will Wong, an analyst at IDC, said it was not essential for Huawei that other smartphone makers adopt HarmonyOS. (But) for Huawei to achieve its ambition, it will be important to get other electronics brands and even automakers onboard for the OS, and China provides a favourable market ecosystem to achieve this," said Wong.