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Home / Apple / Huawei unveils harmony, its response to Android, in Survival Bid

Huawei unveils harmony, its response to Android, in Survival Bid



DONGGUAN, China – Huawei, the Chinese technology giant, unveiled its own mobile operating system, Harmony, on Friday in an effort to ensure the rapidly growing smartphone business can survive the US government's collapse in business. [19659002] Huawei has been giving up the Trump administration for the past three months, ever since the Commerce Department began requiring US companies to apply for special permission to sell parts and technology to the Chinese company, which Washington officials accuse of being a potential lead for cyber spying of Beijing.

The move effectively stifled Huawie's access to Google's Android software and US-made microchips and other hardware components, and questioned Huawi's future.

Although President Trump said in June that he would loosen some of the restrictions on allowing US companies to continue to work with Huawei, US-China economic ties have become tighter since then, and the prospect of immediate relief for Huawei seems more distant.

Unveiling Harmony at a Huawei Developer Conference in the Southern City of Dongguan on Friday, Richard Yu, head of the company's consumer business, said the new operating system was designed to work not only on mobile phones, but also on smart watches and other connected home devices .

The first Huawei products to run on Harmony will not be smartphones, but "smart displays" the company plans to release this year. Yu said Harmony will gradually be integrated into the company's other smart devices over the next three years. But there is no immediate plan, he said, to release Harmony-based phones.

Huawei's preference is to continue using Android on handsets, Yu said. But he added that there was no technical reason why Harmony could not also be used to operate a telephone.

"If we can't use the Android operating system, we can enable Harmony at any time," he said.

At Friday's developer conference, held at a basketball stadium, Yu Yu described Harmony's technical features and capabilities, to the occasional burst of applause. But Huawei made no devices running the new operating system available for testing.

Huawei is now the world's second largest smartphone supplier, ahead of Apple, but behind Samsung. The company's handsets are bestsellers in Europe and throughout the developing world, though political pressure from Washington has prevented Huawei phones from becoming popular in the United States.

Mr. Yu said he thought it wasn't for the Trump administration's pressure on the company, Huawei would have ended the year as the planet's No. 1 smartphone maker. Uncertainty about Huawei devices will continue to support Google services caused the company's sales outside China to plummet after Washington's crash.

Huawei started working with Harmony two years ago, Yu said, and executives at the Chinese firm, which is also a major provider of wireless networking equipment around the planet, have been talking in vague terms about the project for months. In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt published in March, two months before the Department of Commerce restricted Huawi's business, Yu said Huawei had devised an operating system as a "Plan B" in case it was cut off from US technology.

Recently, Ren Zhengfei, Huawei's founder and CEO, said that the company's operating system was originally designed for telecommunications networks, not as an Android replacement.

Like Android, which is far from the world's most used smartphone operating system, Harmony will be released as open source software. This means that it will be freely available for developers to study, improve and redistribute.

The Chinese operating system's new name is Hongmeng, a term from Chinese mythology that refers to the chaotic state of the universe before the creation of heaven and earth. But Huawei decided the name would be too difficult for non-Chinese speakers to pronounce, Yu said. Friday.

"We hope to bring greater harmony to this world," he said.


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