Developed to circumvent its dependence on Google’s service ecosystem and at the same time respond to US economic bans, Harmony OS was to provide Huawei with a viable alternative to Android. In practice, the OS could outline a new Chinese alternative to the Google platform.
Taking advantage of the fact that Google offers the Android core under open-source license, Huawei and by extension, other major smartphone manufacturers in China, seem interested in creating a complete Android ecosystem outside the influence of the American company. Although it seems an impossible task, replacing Android with a non-Google alternative is already in full swing, Huawei only needs to expand its influence among several hardware manufacturers, including competitors “friends” in the Chinese market.
However, based on the mostly negative impressions left for the Harmony OS 2.0 Beta version, Huawei’s ambitions seem about as realistic as you would expect from a state-controlled company. For starters, the thoroughly analyzed OS looks like a customized version of Android with a custom interface. Although, this theoretically facilitates the attraction of software developers and smartphone manufacturers, in practice, the delivered product is far from offering the completely new experience promised by Huawei.
Another notable shortcoming is that Harmony OS would have adapted for operation in optimal parameters with Huawei’s own Kirin processing platform, extending to MediaTek or Qualcomm configurations involving other adaptations to cancel the optimizations already applied by Huawei.
In the end, Harmony OS could remain strictly as a solution for phones delivered to Asian markets without the Google service package, further deepening the differences between Western and local firmware versions. Overall, Google will lose more of the little influence retained in China through Android, but it’s unclear whether Chinese smartphone makers will really gain, as the devices created will run increasingly different software platforms.
Robert J. Smith is still early into his career as tech reporter but has already had his work published in many major publications including JoyStiq and Android Authority. In regards to academics, Robert earned a degree in business from Fordham University. Robert has passion for emerging technology and covers upcoming products and breakthroughs in science and tech.