What just happened? Huawei says that despite unveiling what could be an alternative operating system to Android, the company has no plans to launch a smartphone powered by its HarmonyOS this year—unless it’s forced to.
At the start of the month, Huawei unveiled what most people already knew: it had long been working on an operating system of its own, called HarmonyOS. The news came after it filed trademarks for the system, and even though an executive had said it wasn’t designed for smartphones, it was reported that the firm was testing a smartphone running the OS.
At an event in New York yesterday, Huawei Senior Vice President Vincent Yang said the company didn’t plan to launch a smartphone running HarmonyOS this year. Not too surprisingly, the Chinese giant would prefer it if its phones continued to be powered by Android.
"We want to maintain one standard, one ecosystem," Yang said, as reported by CNET.
But that isn’t to say a HarmonyOS phone definitely won’t happen in 2019. Huawei’s placement on an entity list earlier this year has thrown its future relationship with Google into doubt. The company was granted a 90-day reprieve from the ban to give customers time to transition, and on Monday the Commerce Department extended that by another 90 days, but it’s unclear what will happen when that time is up.
Talked with the Huawei executive to clarify his comments. He said Huawei will stick with Android “until the last minute.” No plans for a Harmony-powered phone, but he added, “ You never know.”— Roger Cheng (@RogerWCheng) August 21, 2019
The extension means that the Mate 30 Pro and, more than likely, the foldable Mate X will both feature Android at launch. Yang said that when it comes to phones running HarmonyOS, Huawei will wait until the last minute when it’s certain there’s no alternative before replacing Android.
Harmony will support apps built for HTML5, Linux, and Android, and it is set to launch on “smart screen products”—expected to be smart TVs—later this year before arriving on wearables and laptops across the next three years.