Huawei unveils HarmonyOS to take on Android: Here is what's new and different
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei has finally launched its much-awaited new operating system - HarmonyOS. The new microkernel-based distributed operating system was unveiled at the Huawei Developer Conference today and offers an alternative to the widely used Android operating system.
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei has finally launched its much-awaited new operating system - HarmonyOS. The new microkernel-based distributed operating system was unveiled at the Huawei Developer Conference today and offers an alternative to the widely used Android operating system. The company had started working on this OS following the White House ban on US companies selling technology products to Huawei. After the decision, the smartphone manufacturer's access to Google's Android operating system was revoked, even though both Huawei and its sub-brand Honor continue to use it on the already launched devices.
While addressing a press conference in China, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group said that the company is entering a new era where it aims to provide a holistic intelligent experience across all devices and scenarios. "To support this, we felt it was important to have an operating system with improved cross-platform capabilities. We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms, and that can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security," he said.
Yu claimed that Huawei's operating system is completely different from Android and iOS. He explained that it is a microkernel-based, distributed OS that delivers a smooth experience across all scenarios. Yu said that HarmonyOS has trustworthy and secure architecture, and it supports seamless collaboration across devices. "You can develop your apps once, then flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices," he said.
The OS will first be used on smart devices like smart watches, smart screens, in-vehicle systems, and smart speakers.
What makes it different?
Huawei claims that this is the first ever device OS with distributed architecture, delivering a seamless experience across devices. It said that HarmonyOS offers a shared communications platform, distributed data management, distributed task scheduling, and virtual peripherals. The company believes that its OS will address underperformance challenges with a Deterministic Latency Engine and high-performance Inter Process Communication (IPC). The Deterministic Latency Engine sets task execution priorities and time limits for scheduling in advance. The microkernel can make IPC performance up to five times more efficient than existing systems.
Also, HarmonyOS uses a microkernel design that features enhanced security and low latency. This microkernel was designed to simplify kernel functions, implement as many system services as possible in user mode outside the kernel, and add mutual security protection. The microkernel itself provides only the most basic services like thread scheduling and IPC.
The OS is powered by a multi-device IDE, multi-language unified compilation, and a distributed architecture kit. It can automatically adapt to different screen layout controls and interactions, and support both drag-and-drop control and preview-oriented visual programming. This allows developers to more efficiently build apps that run on multiple devices.
"We believe HarmonyOS will revitalize the industry and enrich the ecosystem," said Richard Yu. "Our goal is to bring people a truly engaging and diverse experience. We want to invite developers from around the world to join us as we build out this new ecosystem. Together, we will deliver an intelligent experience for consumers in all scenarios."
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