After much speculation, the Huawei made its operating system official: the HarmonyOS, as it was baptized, was announced on Friday (9) by the Chinese company on the first day of the Huawei Developer Conference (HDC).
In development since 2017, the project was known until recently as Hongmeng. The word “harmony” in the official name is a reference to the proposal for multiple devices of the novelty: Huawei says that the operating system is being developed to run not only on cell phones, but also on smartwatches, PCs, televisions, smart speakers and the like.
Richard Yu, leader of Huawei’s consumer division, signals that HarmonyOS’s ability to cover a wide range of devices will make it completely different from Android and iOS: “you can develop your apps once and make them available flexibly across different devices, ”he said.
Developing an operating system is not an easy task, especially one that has such a broad approach. But the biggest challenge comes later: attracting developers so that HarmonyOS can have at least the main applications on the market.
To make the project more attractive, Huawei intends to release the open source operating system. In addition, the company talks about providing an environment compatible with several programming languages to facilitate the adaptation or development of software for the platform.
Technical details are still scarce, but it is known that, at least in the initial phase, HarmonyOS will integrate both the Linux kernel and the LiteOS (open source operating system developed by Huawei for Internet of Things), in addition to its own microkernel.
A modularized #HarmonyOS can be nested to adapt flexibly to any device to create a seamless cross-device experience. Developed via the distributed capability kit, it builds the foundation of a shared developer ecosystem # HDC2019pic.twitter.com/2TD9cgtdG8
– Huawei Mobile (@HuaweiMobile) August 9, 2019
Lower latency in application responses, optimization for efficient energy consumption, support for high-performance graphics and more security compared to other operating systems on the market are among the other attributes that Huawei promises for the operating system.
When in a more advanced stage of development, HarmonyOS should rely only on its own microkernel to reinforce performance and security – the microkernel will not allow root-level access, for example.
In the presentation at HDC, Huawei revealed that the operating system will be released by the end of the year on devices with smart screens. The first one should be the Honor Smart Screen TV.
For now, there are no plans to launch smartphones based on HarmonyOS. The initial focus of the project is on internet of things. But Richard Yu hinted that if the restrictions imposed by the United States completely prevent Huawei from accessing the Android ecosystem, HarmonyOS could be released for cell phones at any time.