Huawei has announced a brand new operating system called HarmonyOS and it’s going to feature on smartwatches first.
Unveiled at the company’s developer conference, the open-source platform gives Huawei the option of filtering out its use of Android over time if it needs to. The timing of a new OS is a clear response to troubles the Huawei has faced with the US government in recent months, which subsequently also led to Google opting to cut future Android updates to Huawei’s devices.
Read more: The best Wear OS smartwatches
HarmonyOS is primarily aimed at smartwatches, smart screens and smart speakers and Huawei says it’s a lightweight compact operating system that has been built on a trustworthy and secure architecture.
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, explained at the conference that this operating system is completely different from Android and iOS. “It is a microkernel-based, distributed OS that delivers a smooth experience across all scenarios.” This means, in practise, that it can work across different types of devices, in comparison to Google’s somewhat distinct Android and Wear OS platforms.
Huawei backed up these claims with further details about the microkernel architecture. For one, it showcased what it’s calling the OS’s “Deterministic Latency Engine“, a system designed to prioritise tasks to ensure high speed. It claims this can make HarmonyOS, “fives times faster than existing systems”, without naming iOS or Android specifically.
The Chinese company also highlighted the secure nature of HarmonyOS as it employs multiple verification systems. Given Huawei’s recent issues recently, it’s no surprise to see this aspect of its new operating system being talked up.
From a developers’ point of view, the OS sounds promising – Huawei revealed its integrated development environment (IDE), saying that “HarmonyOS can automatically adapt to different screen layout controls and interactions“, which should lead to more efficient design times. From a user’s point of view, the platform will be compatible with Android, HTML5 and Linux applications too.
Huawei says HarmonyOS 1 for smartwatches and smart devices, will roll out later this year in new products and will continue to spreading into other tech after that.