Harmony OS event in China

Can Harmony OS be a viable alternative to Android and iOS?

The alternative to Android and iOS is finally here. Last week, Huawei finally unveiled its multi-device operating system (OS) called Harmony OS at its massive Huawei Developer Conference 2019.

Over the last decade, the smartphone OS business has become a duopoly. Either you have Apple’s iPhones running on iOS or a device powered by Google’s Android. Huawei has been working on Harmony OS for a couple of years. But development efforts were accelerated, and the urgency to launch the OS was forced due to the US’ trade ban on Huawei, which bars Google from doing business with the firm. The question is, whether Harmony OS can resonate with consumers and help Huawei continue its growth in the smartphone business.

Neil Shah, Research director, Counterpoint Research, takes a closer look at the advantages, opportunities, and challenges ahead of Huawei. Shah says the biggest advantage of Harmony OS is its architecture.

He said: “Huawei has taken a clever approach in developing the Harmony OS architecture. It has learned from current OS architectures in the devices market and their shortcomings, for example Android’s monolithic kernel and Apple’s fragmented OS approach. It is proposing replacing these with a distributed, flexible micro-kernel architecture.”

What this means is, when the time is right, and Huawei has more developers developing for Harmony OS, the developers can take full advantage of the scalability of the micro-kernel architecture.

Along with a new IDE (Integrated Development Environment), Huawei will allow developers to develop applications just once and port to multiple devices, ranging from a smartphone to a smartwatch to TVs, PCs, Tablets and even car dashboards. With Harmony OS, Huawei aims to support HTML5, Linux and even Android-based applications.

However, it won’t be easy for Huawei to break the duopoly of Apple and Google.

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