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Huawei responds to rumors that phone brands are ditching Android for HarmonyOS

Update: After this story was originally reported on May 7, Huawei provided a comment to TechRadar, stating “HarmonyOS is available for all smartphone manufacturers.” Xiaomi and Oppo declined to comment.

This is great news, as it tells us Huawei’s plans for HarmonyOS. On the face of it, the software isn’t just intended as the company’s Android replacement for its own devices, but as a genuine alternative to Google’s operating system juggernaut that other companies can use as well.

Time will tell the future of HarmonyOS – it will need to be proven as a worthy operating system on Huawei phones before other companies even consider using it on their devices. But in a few years, if all goes the way Huawei probably hopes, we could see other brands start moving away from Android.

The original story, first published on 05/07/2021 as “Android exodus: More phone makers may turn to Huawei’s HarmonyOS”, follows below.

When it comes to smartphone operating systems, Android is the big name on campus, with around 87% of all smartphones running Google’s operating system, according to 2019 statistics. point to face its biggest threat yet, and we’re not talking about iOS.

HarmonyOS, Huawei’s in-house operating system and Android rival, might not just run on Huawei phones, but apparently on handsets from Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and more, all of which are Androiders right now.

It comes from a leak on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, which wrote about HarmonyOS “some mobile phone manufacturers are also contacting and planning to adapt” [the OS for their devices]. Following this, MyFixGuide cited a separate source which named Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Meizu as the brands in question.

Reading between the lines, it looks like the phone brands listed are simply considering HarmonyOS and keeping their options open – that’s not confirmation that they’re ditching Android for Huawei’s newest alternative. But this news gives HarmonyOS some much-needed legitimacy.

What is HarmonyOS?

In 2019, the Huawei ban began: due to a trade war between the United States and China coupled with national security concerns, Huawei stopped being able to use all Google apps on its future Android phones, including the Google Play Store, Gmail, Maps, etc. Some time later, the brand unveiled HarmonyOS, its own operating system.

Communication around HarmonyOS has been confusing and the operating system is not yet available on smartphones, although a rollout to some modern Huawei phones is planned, including the Huawei P40 and Mate 40 Pro. Some insiders believe that the upcoming Huawei P50 will be the first preinstalled phone.

HarmonyOS

(Image credit: Huawei)

It’s also worth pointing out that some Huawei gadgets on sale in China already use HarmonyOS, as the operating system is supposed to work on many different devices, not just smartphones.

Since it’s not widely used (or even commercially available on phones), HarmonyOS is still a big question mark, and we don’t know if it will truly compete with Android and iOS or become quickly died in the water.

However, the fact that Xiaomi and Oppo are apparently considering HarmonyOS is a big vote of confidence, especially from two of the biggest phone makers in the world.

The future of Android

At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be much of a threat to Android’s market dominance – Huawei’s HarmonyOS is still untested, as we said, and will take years to find its footing. pace anyway.

That doesn’t mean Google shouldn’t take notice, though, because if any company can rival the juggernaut that is Android, it’s the almighty Huawei. They have the money and brand recognition for HarmonyOS to give Android a run for its money.

The openness that made Android popular could also be its undoing – updates to new versions of the OS are often incredibly delayed, as Google has to design each new iteration, before getting it into the hands of phone brands so that they adapt it to all their devices.

If Huawei designed HarmonyOS with its own phones in mind, updates could be quick and work well with the hardware in question.

Still, that’s just speculation at the moment, and we’ll have to see what the future holds to be sure.