After months of conflicting statements from Huawei executives, the Chinese networking giant on Friday officially unveiled HarmonyOS, the much-anticipated microkernel-based, distributed operating system that it has developed to power smartphones, laptops, and smart home devices as the company attempts to reduce its reliance on American firms.
HarmonyOS will be made available for deployment in smart screen products such as TV, smart watches, and cars later this year, said Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei consumer division at company’s developer conference. In next three years, Huawei, the world’s second largest smartphone vendor, will look to bring HarmonyOS to more devices including smartphones, he said.
“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,” the company said.
The availability of the mobile operating system, which is open source, will be limited to China for now, though the company has plans to bring it to international markets at a later stage.
The announcement today comes months after the U.S. government put Huawei and more than 60 affiliates in an entity list, restricting U.S. firms from conducting businesses with the Chinese giant.
In the aftermath, Google, Intel, and other companies that contribute much of the technology and solutions that go into a smartphone suspended their business with Huawei, severely questioning the company’s future prospects.
The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has already started to impact Huawei’s bottom line. According to research firm Counterpoint, about half of all Huawei smartphones are shipped outside China.
The company reiterated today that it intends to continue to use Android moving forward, but HarmonyOS is officially its back-up plan if things go south.