The third HarmonyOS Beta is just around the corner: Huawei plans to release it on March 31st on compatible smartphones. For the moment the deal is still a China-exclusive, but it’s worth reporting, just to keep track. The stable version, suitable for commercial use, will arrive soon after, already in the first days of April.
The operating system represents the Chinese giant’s response to the harsh restrictions imposed by the United States, according to which no American company or that bases its products on American technology, can do business with Huawei unless requesting a specific license from the Department of Commerce USA. There are several “subplots” in this story that have brought us to this point: the embargoes violated against Iran, the trade war between China and the US and fears of espionage and theft gave on behalf of the Beijing government are the main ones.
In concrete terms, Huawei no longer has access to vital partners in the smartphone world such as Google, Qualcomm, TSMC and Samsung. There are many serious problems that Huawei must solve in its supply chain if it is to survive, and one of them is software. For now, the company got away with a version of Android without Google services, replaced by proprietary counterparts (for example the App Gallery instead of the Play Store, Petal Search instead of Google Search, Huawei Mobile Services instead of Google Mobile Services), but has been working on an operating system of its own for some time.
HarmonyOS was presented a couple of years ago now, with great ambitions: it wants to be a “universal” operating system, valid both for IoT gadgets, for smartphones, for TVs, for laptops, and for supercomputers. So far, the spread has been marginal, especially in the smartphone world: it arrived in Beta form on some devices and little else. The first analyzes, however, indicate that it would essentially be an Android fork. But 2021 should be the decisive year: the management has declared that it aims to update all its models currently on the market, starting with the latest generation Mate X2 folding.
The first HarmonyOS native smartphones should be those belonging to the P50 family; just in these days rumours have begun to circulate according to which their launch would have been postponed at least to June, precisely because of the operating system’s youth problems.
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