Huawei phones will start running on HarmonyOS in 2021

Huawei is planning to launch its proprietary Harmony operating system on smartphones in 2021, the firm announced at its annual developer conference in Dongguan on Thursday.

The readiness of HarmonyOS handsets will largely be contingent on the number of apps Huawei can attract within a short window. HMS Core, Huawei’s counterpart to Google Play Services and the toolkit helping developers build and manage apps, now includes 96,000 apps, the company said today. That’s up from 81,000 in July and 60,000 in March.

In comparison, both Google Play and Apple App Store have accumulated apps numbered in the millions.

To lure more apps into its ecosystem, Huawei announced that a beta version of its second-generation operating system — HarmonyOS 2.0 — for mobile developers will launch by the end of this year. Meanwhile, the beta version of HarmonyOS will go open-source for tablets, smartwatches, and in-car systems starting this week.

Huawei’s operating system has a current reach of 490 million users through the company’s family of hardware products.

The telecoms giant shipped 105 million handsets in the first half of 2020, down from 118 million in the same period of 2019 as consumers respond to Huawei phones’ loss of key Android features and a global economic downturn. Huawei’s consumer business, consisting mainly of smartphone sales, pulled in 255.8 billion yuan ($37.4 billion) in H1, up from 220.8 billion yuan the year before.

More updates to follow…