Huawei HarmonyOS, a unique Operating System

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Huawei HarmonyOS is about to be made available to smartphone users. On September 10, 2020, Huawei released beta versions of HarmonyOS for TVs, watches, and automotive head units, and invited app developers to experiment and develop apps for the operating system.

At the time, Huawei also announced their intention to bring HarmonyOS to its phones. The beta version of HarmonyOS for phones was released in December, together with the SDK, development documents and tools, and simulators, giving developers the chance to create HarmonyOS-based mobile phone apps before the official launch.


Wang Chenglu, President of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group Software Engineering Dept, a major contributor to HarmonyOS, said that HarmonyOS is the ideal operating system for the Internet of Everything era. He said that HarmonyOS will provide users with more access to apps and services and a smart life experience, disrupting the market and creating huge opportunities. To understand the significance of HarmonyOS, it is useful to zoom out and see how it fits into the overall development of the Internet.

In the IoT era, what does an operating system need to be?

Today, the opportunities brought by IoT mark another turning point in the history of operating systems. This time, HarmonyOS aims to be the first mover, and a number of parties are working to rapidly develop an ecosystem around this next-generation OS.

HarmonyOS aims to be the ideal operating system for the Internet of Everything era. It can support smartphones and other smart devices including TVs, automotive head units, and wearables. In the past, users enjoyed personalized apps. With HarmonyOS, users can have personalized devices, which better satisfy their needs.

In the era of feature phones, the hardware and software of a phone were fixed. In the smartphone era, hardware was still fixed, but new ability to download apps offered users a more personalized experience. Now, the revolutionary distributed technology of HarmonyOS means that capabilities can be decoupled from hardware, allowing multiple physically independent devices to converge into one “Super Device”. It can flexibly invoke and combine the software and hardware capabilities that are most suitable for the current use case, providing users with a smooth, seamless AI experience.

HarmonyOS enables devices to provide services based on users’ requirement and defines devices based on use cases to deliver optimal experience.

For example, if you open a map app on your phone and select a destination, then as soon as you get in your car, the map is automatically synchronized to the screen of the head unit. When you get out of the car, the map switches seamlessly over to your watch. Hardware equipped with HarmonyOS offers new levels of convenience. Connection is as simple as tapping a phone against another household appliance.

In this way, you can check the status of your oven from the screen of your phone. You can find a recipe in an app, and with a single tap on the screen, set the corresponding temperature and time on your oven, making it easier than ever to cook like a master chef. Household appliances also actively communicate with you, reminding you to clean the oil filter of the range hood, for example.

In the ecosystem construction of HarmonyOS, the biggest challenge is to obtain the support of app developers and vendors. For app developers, the distributed technology of HarmonyOS brings a platform for developing innovative cross-device apps. For hardware manufacturers, HarmonyOS presents dizzying range of opportunities.

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