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Harmony OS (Hongmeng OS): what is the new Huawei OS and what will it be used for?

ByTown Kassis 2019-08-17 1846

After months of rumors, Huawei has finally officialized its own operating system: Harmony OS. But what is the latter, and what will it be used for? We will help you to understand everything in this explanatory file.

Harmony OS​ 


A few years ago, we were already hearing about Huawei's intentions to create his own ecosystem. And then, the rumor went silent, and came back with a full force as the company faced the wrath of the American government.


Ark OS, HongMeng OS, this new system appeared more than once online... before the Chinese manufacturer decided to make it official under the name Harmony OS. The latter is however much more than an alternative to Android, and is rather to be put on the side of Google Fuchsia's future competitors. We will explain how.

On what principles is Harmony OS based?

First of all, note that there are many parallels with Google Fuchsia. Also, if you have already understood how Fuchsia would work, you already have a good idea of what Harmony OS is.


Harmony OS is not a system based on a Linux kernel, as is Android. This is a system based on a "micro kernel", an operating system core that has only kept the most basic functionalities within it. Huawei did not specify whether he had taken over the work of an existing kernel microphone, or whether he had created it himself.


Like Fuchsia, it then separates all system functions in upper layers (like Map Kit presented in parallel). This will make them more protected and inaccessible, while the functions managing design, energy consumption, file system etc. will be separated into several blocks in order to be easily accessible without causing too much system risk. This also allows for a simplified system update.


Finally, these multiple layers ensure greater consistency between the various devices on which the system can be installed through multiple shared resources. And these can be local or online, via the cloud in particular, to always find your data regardless of the device or execute code remotely and provide the results to the target device.


Note that Harmony OS is an open source operating system. Also, many developers around the world will be able to participate in its creation and improvement.

How does Harmony OS work?

Unlike Fuchsia OS, we have not yet been able to see the system running even in a pre-version that is far from complete. So we only have examples of Huawei on which to base ourselves.


According to the Chinese manufacturer, no matter what the target device is, whether it is a watch, a television or even a smartphone, a given application will be able to be displayed and adapted to the device.


To be able to deal with the limited resources of certain types of products, Huawei relies above all on its personalized kernel microphone. It is intended to be able to effectively identify the priority of tasks in order to provide the best possible fluidity.


There is also a "collaborative" aspect to the various devices equipped with Harmony OS, which will be able to help each other on complex tasks in order to provide the most fluid experience possible. The idea is really to easily interconnect many devices to facilitate their communication and create an ecosystem of multiple devices that can work on the same task.

Creating applications on Harmony OS

What about the application universe of the future Harmony OS? Huawei has already announced a significant capacity: this new operating system will theoretically be compatible with applications developed for Android. We mean theoretically, since the new OS is "simply" compatible with applications developed on an AOSP usage, not integrating the Google services and APIs on which a large number of popular applications are based.


Moreover, they will still need to be readjusted as little as possible. In terms of development, Huawei is still reassuring: it will provide a development environment (IDE) that makes it easy to create an application that is compatible with multiple devices. The latter will be compatible with many programming languages: Java, C/C++, JavaScript/HTML5 and Kotlin are already announced.


Then, a new compiler will transform this code into machine language. Called Huawei Ark, it is declared as just as efficient as Android's (also called Ark) and will compile several languages in a unified way.

Harmony OS Deployment Plan

Unlike Fuchsia, however, Huawei is very clear about what he intends to do with his system. As proof: he already has a plan for its deployment.


In 2019, only one product will really run under Harmony OS in version 1.0; it will be the Honor Vision TV. In 2020, thanks to version 2.0, new products will benefit from it, including some PCs (which are thought to be ultraportable and minimalist) and connected watches. Then in 2021, speakers and headphones are planned before in 2022, glasses and virtual reality headphones arrive.


If Huawei has planned to keep Android and EMUI 10 for his smartphones and tablets, he does not refrain from deploying Harmony OS on these devices... in case of a hard blow. It is well understood in the context that if one day Huawei were to separate from Android, which is not in his plans, he would move on to Harmony OS. But as it stands, this is not Harmony OS' primary ambition, which above all wants to interconnect our digital devices.


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