Huawei took to the stage at its event on June 2 to unveil a range of new smart devices, including the Huawei Watch 3 and the new MatePad Pro tablet. But, all the big revelations are centered around a long-awaited announcement – HarmonyOS.
Huawei has for the first time announced the development of its own mobile operating system in 2019, following the White House prohibits Chinese company from using the full Android operating system or any other Google services due to security concerns.
The latest version is actually HarmonyOS 2, as Huawei previously launched HarmonyOS 1 as a smart TV operating system a few years ago. HarmonyOS 2 entered its second developer beta in December 2020, before officially launching on June 2, 2021.
Here’s everything you need to know about Huawei’s new operating system, HarmonyOS.
What is Huawei HarmonyOS?
It was unveiled for the first time by Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, at the company’s Developers Conference in China on August 9, 2019 and entered its smartphone 2.0 developer beta in December 2020, before finally launching for consumers in June 2021.
However, HarmonyOS is not just for smartphones. Much of the focus at the June 2 event was dedicated to how the operating system is able to connect a wide range of smart devices seamlessly, joining them in what Huawei calls “Super Devices” that you can control through the its Control Panel. But, more on that below.
What features and apps are HarmonyOS?
The Control Panel and the Shopping Center are two of the biggest features we got a closer look at during the June event.
At the event, Huawei called the Control Panel “a portal for consumers to create Super Devices.” The panel features a drag-and-drop feature that makes it easy to connect other smart devices with one touch. An example that Huawei shared was dragging the smart screen icon to the phone icon to change a movie on your TV, or dragging the headset icon to the phone icon to move the TV audio to your FreeBuds when your family goes to bed.
Meanwhile, the Business Center allows you to move apps between different devices without having to install them on each individual device. You can also see which apps are running on other devices on your Super Device system with the Activity Center. You can then drag them onto your tablet or PC to a larger screen or swipe across your phone to take your apps on the go.
Then there is the Welcome Screen. Like Android and iOS, the Home screen features widgets that can display information without you having to open the app. You can also move the widgets around, resize them and flatten them.
For devices other than Huawei, there is also HarmonyOS Connect. This feature allows you to connect your Huawei phone with your smart devices at home with one touch. For example, you can connect your smart oven to view recipes and turn on the oven or connect it to your smart refrigerator to adjust the temperature automatically based on the food in your refrigerator.
HarmonyOS also features multi-device collaboration identity authentication, which means users can increase their security by choosing to unlock their phone with facial recognition and separate control of their smartwatch.
According to Huawei, the performance of HarmonyOS is “superior to that of Android-based EUMI.”
A phone running HarmonyOS can apparently keep read / write speeds close to those of a new phone after 36 months of use, even with less storage available.
Huawei also dropped Apple at the event, claiming that its operating system allows Huawei phones to last 5.1 hours while playing graphics-intensive games, compared to the last 3.9 hours of the iPhone.
So, what do we think of the applications?
Yu previously said that Huawei hopes to differentiate itself from competing Android and iOS mobile operating systems, making it easier for developers to create unique apps that work across all categories of devices covered by HarmonyOS.
“HarmonyOS is completely different from Android and iOS. It is a distributed OS based on the microkernel that offers a smooth experience in all scenarios. It has a reliable and secure architecture, and supports seamless collaboration across all devices. You can develop your apps once, then deploy them flexibly across a variety of different devices, ”he explained.
When is Harmony OS available and what devices will run it?
More than 100 Huawei devices will be eligible for the HarmonyOS 2 upgrade in China. This includes the Mate 40 Series, u Mate 30 series, u P40 Series, the Mate X2, the Nova 8 series and the MatePad Pro Series.
The company currently invites interested users to try out the OS first by applying via the Huawei Club, on the My Huawei app or by signing up for the HarmonyOS Experience Officer program at a Huawei store in China.
There is no word on when or on what HarmonyOS devices will be available in the UK as well.