Huawei finally took the wraps off its long-rumored first-party operating system in the city of Dongguan, China. The OS called Harmony OS was developed by the Chinese manufacturer for several years but is mainly taken as a key point in the company’s contingency plan after the US put a trade ban on it.
Huawei’s Harmony OS
The first details about Harmony OS were shared at the Huawei Developer Conference but not shown on smartphones just yet. The Harmony OS is microkernel-based like Google’s Fuchsia OS project which uses a ‘non-distributed design”. The company said this allows flexible development of the OS in various devices and easing app development.
Huawei said that its hard to deliver a smooth experience across different devices with a huge amount of code in Android and Linux core. The use of a microkernel will also improve security according to the company. Performance is theoretically better than the current Android OS and other Linux OS.
Android uses a Linux kernel’s scheduling mechanism while Harmony OS uses a “deterministic latency engine”. This provides a “precise resource scheduling with real-time load analysis and forecasting and app characteristics matching”. This results in a 25.7% and 55.6% improvement in response latency and latency fluctuation respectively.
Huawei says the new OS represents an entirely new generation of OS that enables AI capabilities across different devices. Developers can use Huawei’s ARK Compiler to compile code from multiple languages like C/C++, Java, and Kotlin for the OS. An IDE will be provided to support app development across multiple devices like television, smartwatches, smartphones, smartspeakers and more.
Will it support Android Apps
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group confirms that Harmony OS is not compatible with Android apps. But he said it will be “very easy” to transfer Android apps to Harmony OS with “small changes”. The company is building up its AppGallery platform as an alternative to the Google Play Store.
Development of the Harmony OS, also known as HongMeng OS in China began 2 years ago with version 1.0 of the microkernel. In 2019, its work accelerated and the 2.0 version of the microkernel will arrive next year while the version 3.0 arrives in 2021. The OS is still “plan B” for Huawei but it may be forced to adopt it if the trade ban doesn’t lift by this year or early next year. We might see upcoming Huawei devices like Huawei Mate 30 ship with the Harmony OS.
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