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Huawei's new operating system, the Harmony OS, is bound to shake things up in the industry.

Aug 13, 2019

The Hongmeng operating system (OS), also known as Harmony OS, was unveiled last week. Huawei Consumer CEO, Richard Yu, claims that Harmony is “completely different” than Apple and Android’s operating systems.

Yu said that consumers are expecting a “holistic intelligent experience across all devices,” and promises that that Harmony OS will live up to the expectations. He explained at the Huawei Developers Conference:

“To support this, we felt it was important to have an operating system with improved cross-platform capabilities. We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms, and that can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security.”

The new microkernel-based, distributed operating system is designed to deliver a “smooth experience,” providing developers with the ability to design their apps once, and “then flexibly deploy it across a range of different devices.”

Seamless, Secure, Smooth and Unified

According to Huawei, the operating system has four distinct technical features.

  • Seamless: First-ever device OS with distributed architecture, delivering a seamless experience across devices
  • Smooth: Deterministic Latency Engine and high-performance IPC
  • Secure: Microkernel architecture that reshapes security and trustworthiness from the ground up
  • Unified: Multi-device IDE allows apps to be developed once and deployed across multiple devices

Yu promises that app developers won’t have to deal with underlying technology when distributing apps with Harmony OS. This will allow developers to focus on their own individual service logic.

As for a ‘smooth experience,’ Huawei confirmed that resources will gravitate towards tasks with high priorities, which in turn will reduce the response latency of apps by approximately 25%.

In addition, Harmony OS will feature enhanced security as the microkernel was designed to simplify kernel functions and implement as many services as possible in the use mode outside the kernel.

Lastly, Harmony OS will be able to adapt to different screen layout controls and interactions automatically. Huawei explains:

The HUAWEI ARK Compiler is the first static compiler that can perform on par with Android’s virtual machine, enabling developers to compile a broad range of advanced languages into machine code in a single, unified environment.

The future of Huawei’s Harmony OS

Huawei plans to scale Harmony to smartwatches, smart cars and smart speakers as well, although it could take up to three years before we see the feature in cars.

The first version of the operating system will be released with Huawei’s Honor later this year. The company didn’t mention specific phone models in the press release, and simply concluded with:

“We believe HarmonyOS will revitalize the industry and enrich the ecosystem. Our goal is to bring people a truly engaging and diverse experience. We want to invite developers from around the world to join us as we build out this new ecosystem. Together, we will deliver an intelligent experience for consumers in all scenarios.”