Huawei’s HarmonyOS is coming to smartphones

Huawei has announced the second version of its HarmonyOS operating system and detailed plans to bring it to a wider range of devices, including smartphones. Consumer business CEO Richard Yu made the announcement today at Huawei’s developer conference in Shenzhen, China.

Huawei will make a beta version of the HarmonyOS 2.0 SDK available to developers today, though it’ll initially only support smartwatches, car head units, and TVs. A smartphone version of the SDK will follow in December 2020, and Yu hinted that phones running HarmonyOS might appear next year.

Huawei is also kicking off its OpenHarmony project, which allows developers to build upon an open-source version of the OS — similar to what AOSP is to Android. As of today the project only supports devices with 128MB of RAM or below, but that’ll expand to 4GB in April of next year, and the memory limit will be removed completely by October 2021.

HarmonyOS is a strategically important project for Huawei, as it could serve as a bulwark against sanctions prohibiting the Chinese giant from doing business with American companies. Huawei is currently forced to ship its Android-based phones without Google services, crippling its app ecosystem and functionality for users outside China.

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