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Huawei OS heading for smartphones in 2021

Huawei unveiled a major upgrade to HarmonyOS, which it claimed is now the third-largest app ecosystem in the world and could be available on smartphones in 2021.

Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group (pictured), said HarmonyOS 2.0 takes a big step to creating more connections across the entire mobile ecosystem, with a beta version for developers released today (10 September) for smartwatches and televisions, and an SDK for smartphones due in December.

The upgrade makes the platform fully open source, Yu said. It currently works on devices with up to 128MB of RAM, with expansion to 4GB scheduled for April 2021 and a further bump prepared for October 2021.

Yu explained the upgrade is not designed as a simple replacement for current smartphone OSes, but offers users value-added services including distributed data management and security capabilities.

HarmonyOS was unveiled in August 2019 as a countermeasure to US trade restrictions covering hardware and software. Since then, Huawei campaigned to attract developers to its Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) and App Gallery.

Despite “challenges times”, Yu said the company shipped 105 million smartphones in H1 and consumer unit revenue hit CNY256 billion ($37.4 billion): this compares with 240 million units and CNY467 billion in H1 2019.

“Our business is growing fast, with some segments seeing 100 per cent growth.”

Growing ecosystem

HMS counts 1.8 million developers on its roster worldwide, with 490 million active users in 170 countries and 96,000 apps available, the company said.

Wang Chunglu, president of software engineering at the consumer unit, said after building up its developer community and assigning more than 5,000 engineers to the platform, Huawei “now has the confidence to say we are an ecosystem developer, with the aim to join hands with Chinese and overseas developers to bring greater diversity”.


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