USA vs Huawei and Harmony OS

USA vs Huawei and Harmony OS and what that means for consumers

USA and Huawei

Huawei has been under USA’s scrutiny since as early as 2011 and the fight is far from over. USA believes that Huawei has strong ties with Chinese government and its State surveillance systems. The claim made by USA is that Huawei is leaving a backdoor open for the Chinese government to hack into the phones that Huawei ships worldwide, allowing them to monitor and spy on the world over which China has no jurisdiction. USA government has also alleged that Huawei is making Espionage efforts in their country. Huawei has consistently denied all allegations and so has China.

Impact on Huawei

This entire tug of war between USA and Huawei has crated a major blockage in the roadmap of Huawei’s growth, especially in 5G domain outside of China as USA has urged its allies to stop Huawei from procuring 5G projects in their countries, countries such as Australia and New Zealand have already agreed to USA’s request.

In May 2019, USA also put Huawei on Entity List, which basically means that USA companies, like Google, cannot do business with Huawei. This has created major issues for Huawei as it can no longer use Google Mobile Services (GMS) in their phones. This means that software by Google like Google Play Store and Maps, that come pre-installed with Android phones cannot be used by Huawei Phones, as the GMS are not a part of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

Huawei’s Reaction

Huawei has been developing its own Operating system for quite some time now, but it doesn’t seem like they wanted to launch their phones with it so soon, as they are still trying to fight the USA government to get back their rights to use GMS. The operating system developed is known as Harmony OS which will use Huawei Mobile Services Android (HMS). Harmony OS is a micro-kernel based distribution operating system.

Harmony OS is not just designed for Mobile phones, it is designed as one Operating System for all devices. This will allow Huawei to make a complete ecosystem where all the devices can talk to each other and behave as one unified device when needed. For instance, it could mean that, while you are talking on your phone using a video call feature, the camera of your phone would be used but your TV display could be used to show the video of the person you are talking to.

Huawei has already launched a TV, called Honor Vision, with Harmony OS in it. It has a video camera (pop up) built-in and has features like broadcasting the game from your mobile phone onto the TV with 50ms latency. The pricing that it starts with is $680.

Huawei Phones in the New Era

The major benefit that the consumers will have is that there will be a new player in Mobile OS world as competition is always good for the consumers. This OS coupled with Huawei’s in-house hardware will create a very power Mobile system. The edge that Huawei’s phones will have, will be similar to that of Apple’s Mobile phones, i.e. the ability to use the hardware of the device to its full potential as the everything from the chip to the operating system will be designed in-house, as they were already making their own chips and now the software too.

Even the external apps, when they come to Huawei’s ecosystem, will be highly efficient because the software of the phone will be designed to draw every last bit of the power that the phone has to offer. It means that the apps can be designed to utilise all the hardware within the phone, unlike Google where the software is designed as a blanket to fit all and then customized, forcing the app makers to create generic design for their app which work with all Android devices.

Huawei App Gallery

Just as Google based Android devices have Google Play Store, the Huawei’s Harmony OS based device will have Huawei App Gallery. It already has more than 1.4 million developers registered with over 55000 apps having HMS built in.

Currently, if any app is not available in the App Gallery, then they have provided an alternative, called MoreApps, which shows those apps and give a link to download the .apk file or give the link to the web version of the app. If an app is still not available, by those means, then users can send suggestions to Huawei to get those apps in the App Gallery. Huawei will use those suggestions to determine which apps need to be made available sooner than later.

The beauty of Harmony OS will be that an app designed for it can be easily migrated to various types of devices as the underlying code is one system.

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