At today’s Huawei Developer Conference, the company’s Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu unveiled the “HarmonyOS”.
The presentation focused heavily on how much faster and safer the microkernel-based, distributed OS was compared to Android, and how it could be used in all sorts of Internet of Things scenarios. That said, there are currently no public plans to use the OS for smartphones, but if Huawei is ever unable to continue their relationship with Android, it is confident that it can switch over to HarmonyOS immediately.
As I mentioned, however, a lot of the presentation seemed to particularly be targeting Harmony’s advantages over Android. In his on-stage presentation, Yu said that Android isn’t as efficient due to its redundant codes, outdated scheduling mechanism, and general fragmentation issues. In addition, with a microkernel design, Harmony OS should be safer from the get-go as there is no root access available; the microkernel is protected by isolation from external kernel services. The system also applies formal verification — a set of mathematical approaches used in security-critical fields — to reliably spot vulnerabilities, whereas traditional methods are likely to miss some. It apparently also boasts some performance boosts over Android.
According to Yu, HarmonyOS has been in the works since 2017, and the version Huawei unveiled today will initially target smart display products, such as the Huawei Vision due later this year. While this release still packs a Linux kernel and Huawei’s earlier Lite OS kernel alongside its own microkernel, version 2.0, which is expected sometime in 2020, will feature only a HarmonyOS microkernel, thus making it a true Harmony OS.
This program being ready to be implemented “at any time” is likely a response to the current oppressed state Huawei finds itself in now that its American partners are leery doing business with it. We’ll have to wait and see if this powerful new OS is able to make a mark on the world, or if the current more widely available options hold their throne.