Huawei has announced a new update that will see hundreds of millions of devices carry the HarmonyOS alternative to Android this year. As reported by Forbes, by September 300 to 400 million will carry the system to try and compete with Google and Android.
Huawei have been driven to the brink this year with various blacklists and trade restrictions harming the company greatly. Although the company may soon get access back to Qualcomm chipsets things still look rather bleak for the Chinese company.
This change of tactic to try and take on Google and Android could be the change in fortunes for the company though. It has also been reported that the Huawei P50 may launch with both Android and HarmonyOS variants demonstrating the move the company wishes to make.
Trying to take on Google and Android is certainly a bold move for Huawei. However, given the corner they have found themselves pushed into, they will feel they have little alternative.
Huawei set to take on Google with HarmonyOS
Huawei software boss Wang Chenglu has spoken glowing about the decision. He describes it as a "historic moment—a Chinese ecosystem [that] can be long-lasting and thriving".
Huawei Charmain also recently said that "the world is also looking forward to a new open system". He went onto say "why not make our own system successful" and that "we will definitely succeed" in a bold statement.
Of those three to four hundred million units it appears that around 200 million will be their own. Whilst the rest will come from third parties.
Huawei employees are quick to point out that Harmony is not a copy of Android. Wang points out that Harmony is a cross-platform seamless system as its main point of difference.
US blacklists a major stumbling block for Huawei
The main issue for Huawei will be the blacklists it finds itself on in the US. This means that its premium smartphone business which underpins the whole basis of the operating system is under serious pressure.
Many do not expect a significant change of policy with the incoming Biden administration. However, there will my some minor changes so we will have to pay attention to the nuances to see how this all develops.
Huawei is miles too far down the road of pushing Harmony to turn back now so they will have to make the best of it regardless of the state of their smartphone business.
Many feel that the US may wish to keep its stranglehold on Huawei's smartphone business in order to choke this new operating system. However, this may further damage US companies' impact on the global smartphone market.
There is clearly a lot of moving parts to this move and none of it is straightforward by any means. Ultimately Huawei needs a successful smartphone business to make HarmonyOS a success. Right now that does not look great thanks to US restrictions.
However, those restrictions also cause the US harm on the global market so we may see some slight changes on that front. The question is how many and what effect that will have on Huawei going forwards.