Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies Co said on Tuesday that it will launch its self-developed HarmonyOS operating system for smartphones on June 2 as part of its ongoing efforts to cultivate its software prowess after overseas restrictions affected its hardware business.
The move marks a crucial step for Huawei, which has been preparing for its transition from Google's Android operating system to HarmonyOS for a long time after Washington restricted its access to Google software and services in 2019.
HarmonyOS, or Hongmeng in Chinese, was unveiled more than a year ago and is undoubtedly the biggest push by Huawei to build its own software ecosystem. The operating system has already been used in tablets, smart TVs, as well as third-party companies' home appliances such as ovens and smoke exhaust ventilators.
Wang Chenglu, president of the software department at Huawei's consumer business group, said HarmonyOS is an operating system designed for the internet of things era, and it can connect all kinds of IoT devices.
"Huawei wants to have 300 million devices running HarmonyOS this year, with 200 million of them being smartphones and more than 30 million tablets, smartwatches, smart TVs and other products," Wang said, adding the rest would be third-party products from Huawei's partners.
"It is very important to cultivate a sound ecosystem for HarmonyOS in two years. Now, we have hundreds of millions of Huawei mobile phone users. If they upgrade their smartphone systems to HarmonyOS and feel that the experience is good, they will stay with our products," Wang said.
In December, Huawei released a developer beta version of HarmonyOS 2.0 for smartphone app developers, so that they can come up with applications for HarmonyOS on smartphones.
Yin Dong, a Beijing-based software developer who has been using tools from HarmonyOS to develop mobile applications for five months, said he is optimistic about the operating system's future.
"It is very convenient to develop applications for cross-device experiences based on HarmonyOS.Unlike Android which is designed only for smartphones, Harmony-OS is for IoT devices including watches, TVs, cars and even ovens, which enables them to easily connect with each other and deliver new functions," Yin said.
Charlie Dai, principal analyst at market research company Forrester, said: "The US government's restrictions leave Huawei with no other choice but to accelerate research and development to build an open tech ecosystem of its own, from hardware to software for smartphones. It is a tough journey but Huawei must go through it to survive and thrive."