|Written in||C, C++|
|Source model||Open source, Free software|
|Initial release||August 9, 2019|
|Latest release||HarmonyOS 2.0|
|Marketing target||Internet of Things |
Unveiled on 9 August 2019, the platform is designed primarily for Internet of things (IoT) devices. Version 2.0 of Harmony OS was announced in September 2020 with support for smartphones, head units, watches and smart TVs.
Reports surrounding an in-house operating system being developed by Huawei date back as far as 2012. They intensified in May 2019 after Huawei was subjected to export restrictions by the United States government for alleged violations of United States sanctions against Iran. Huawei executive Richard Yu described an in-house platform as a "plan B" in case it is prevented from using Android on future smartphone products.
Prior to its unveiling, it was originally speculated to be a mobile operating system that could replace Android on future Huawei devices (in response to financial sanctions imposed on Huawei by the United States government in May 2019), but by July 2019, some Huawei executives were describing Harmony as being an "industrial" embedded operating system designed for IoT hardware, discarding the previous statements for it to be a mobile operating system. These details were confirmed upon the official unveiling of the platform in 2019, with Huawei listing use cases such as smart TVs, in-car entertainment, and wearable devices.
Some media outlets reported that this OS, referred to as "Hongmeng OS", could be released in China in either August or September 2019, with a worldwide release in the second quarter of 2020. On 24 May 2019, Huawei registered "Hongmeng OS" as a trademark in China. The name "Hongmeng" (Chinese: 鸿蒙; lit.: 'Vast Mist') came from Chinese mythology that symbolizes primordial chaos or the world before creation. The same day, Huawei registered trademarks surrounding "Ark OS" and variants with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. In July 2019, it was reported that Huawei had also registered trademarks surrounding the word "Harmony" for desktop and mobile operating system software, indicating either a different name or a component of the OS.
In June 2019, Huawei communications VP Andrew Williamson told Reuters that the company was testing HongMeng in China, and that it could be ready "in months". However, in July 2019, chairman Liang Hua and senior vice president Catherine Chen stated that Hongmeng OS was not actually intended as a mobile operating system for smartphones, and was actually an embedded operating system designed for Internet of things (IoT) hardware. In July 2019, Huawei chairman Liang Hua stated that the OS was intended for "industrial" use and that Huawei "[had not] decided yet if the Hongmeng OS can be developed as a smartphone operating system in the future" (preferring the continued use of Android for these devices). Building upon the statement, Huawei's senior vice president Catherine Chen stated that it was an embedded operating system designed for Internet of things (IoT) hardware.
On 9 August 2019, Huawei officially unveiled Harmony OS at its inaugural developers' conference in Dongguan. Huawei described Harmony as a free, microkernel-based distributed operating system for various types of hardware, with faster inter-process communication than QNX or Google's "Fuchsia" microkernel, and real-time resource allocation. The ARK compiler can be used to port Android APK packages to the OS. Huawei stated that developers would be able to "flexibly" deploy Harmony OS software across various device categories; the company focused primarily on IoT devices, including "smart displays", wearable devices, and in-car entertainment systems, and did not explicitly position Harmony OS as a mobile OS.
Harmony OS 2.0 launched at the Huawei Developer Conference on 10 September 2020. Huawei announced it intended to ship the operating system on its smartphones in 2021.
Huawei stated that Harmony OS would initially be used on devices targeting the Chinese market. The company's subsidiary brand, Honor, unveiled the Honor Vision line of smart TVs as the first consumer electronics devices to run Harmony OS. Now, a few devices are supported by Harmony OS, they are: Honor Vision, Honor Vision Pro, Huawei Vision (65/75), Huawei Router AX3.
Harmony 2.0 supports cross development for smartphones, in-car head units, smart watches and smart TVs. A single user interface can be developed that will automatically adapt between different devices.
OpenHarmony is an open-source HarmonyOS project launched by the OpenAtom Foundation. The project is hosted on gitee platform.
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Ren Zhengfei said his firm's Harmony OS would be up to 60 per cent faster than Android and would connect across multiple smart devices – ranging from cars to phones.
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