What is HarmonyOS? Can Android apps run on HarmonyOS?


In August 2019, Chinese tech giant Huawei officially announced its own operating system, HarmonyOS. Due to US restrictions and Google’s ban, the company decided to develop its own platform for its devices. Initially, HarmonyOS was deployed on IoT devices such as smart home appliances and later, Huawei expanded it to SmartTVs. Now, HarmonyOS is available on Huawei smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. Let’s learn about this operating system with Getnada through the article below.

What is HarmonyOS

What Is Harmonyos

HarmonyOS, also known as HongMengOS in Chinese, is an internal operating system developed by Huawei since 2012. One of the company’s executives, Ren Zhengfei, once chaired a secret meeting to explore ways to reduce Huawei’s dependency on Android.

By 2019, with the U.S. government and several American companies imposing numerous bans on Huawei, the company’s new devices lost support for Google services. This situation compelled Huawei to turn previous ideas into reality, leading to the official launch of HarmonyOS.

HarmonyOS is designed to operate on all Huawei devices, from smartphones to IoT devices. Unlike Google and Apple, which develop separate operating systems for different types of devices, Huawei aims to create a single, versatile operating system that can be compatible with all devices through HarmonyOS.

Device running HarmonyOS


HarmonyOS made its debut on the Honor Vision, a SmartTV from Huawei’s sub-brand. In addition, this operating system was equipped on various IoT devices. Initially, the company planned to introduce the new OS on a range of smart home devices, laptops, and wearables. However, Huawei altered its strategy and decided to deploy HarmonyOS 2.0 on both smartphones and tablets.

The devices running HarmonyOS 2.0 include a variety of smartphones, tablets, and wearables such as the Huawei Mate 40 Series, Huawei Mate X2, Huawei Watch 3 Series, and Huawei MatePad Pro. Thus, you can expect the company’s upcoming smartphones to also feature the new operating system.

Huawei also aims to integrate HarmonyOS into cars, smart speakers, and many other types of devices. By doing so, the company intends to create a unified ecosystem for different devices, thereby saving developers time.

Can Android apps run on HarmonyOS?

Due to the lack of access to Google Services, you will not be able to use Google apps like Play Store, Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube on new Huawei devices running HarmonyOS. Additionally, any third-party apps that rely on Google Mobile Services for authentication will not work on Huawei’s new operating system.

Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) is a core feature of HarmonyOS, replacing all Google services on future Huawei devices. HMS comes with its own app store, AppGallery, instead of the Play Store. Other applications such as Huawei ID, Huawei Assistant, Huawei Music, and Huawei Cloud are provided to replace traditional Android apps on Huawei’s new devices.

Huawei also offers third-party developers the tools and services necessary to create and publish applications on HarmonyOS.

To run Android apps on HarmonyOS, Huawei has developed a solution called Ark Compiler. By using this tool, developers can quickly recreate Android apps to ensure compatibility with all Huawei devices running the new operating system.

What is the difference between HarmonyOS and Android and iOS?


Huawei aims to make HarmonyOS distinctly different from Android and iOS. The Chinese tech giant hopes the new operating system will provide a more seamless experience compared to its competitors.

Unlike Android and iOS, which are built on monolithic kernels where everything necessary to run the system exists within the kernel itself, HarmonyOS is based on a microkernel architecture. In this setup, unnecessary operations are delegated to other parts of the system. Additionally, Huawei claims its distributed technologies are more efficient than those of Android. With its cross-platform capabilities, HarmonyOS will enable the same application to run on various devices. The new operating system from Huawei also does not grant root access, making it more secure than Android.

In terms of privacy and security, the microkernel design of HarmonyOS offers enhanced security features for users.

Can HarmonyOS survive and thrive?


The smartphone operating system market is dominated by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. In the past, numerous mobile operating systems have failed to compete with these two giants. However, Huawei has a broader vision for HarmonyOS and has taken a more strategic approach in its development compared to other companies.

With HarmonyOS, the Chinese tech giant is not aiming to compete directly with Android or iOS in the smartphone market. Instead, they aspire to lead in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector. Currently, there is no standout operating system for IoT devices, giving Huawei a significant opportunity to grow HarmonyOS.

Nevertheless, HarmonyOS may face several challenges in the smartphone OS market. Besides competing with Android and iOS, Huawei’s new operating system is also hindered by various US sanctions. These restrictions make it difficult for the Chinese tech giant to globalize their new OS and secure a strong position in the market.

What is HarmonyOS?

HarmonyOS is a microkernel-based, distributed operating system developed by Huawei. It is designed to provide a seamless experience across different devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, wearables, and other IoT devices.

Which devices support HarmonyOS?

Smart TVs
Wearables (smartwatches, fitness trackers)
IoT devices (smart home appliances, sensors)

Can I install HarmonyOS on my existing Android device?

As of now, HarmonyOS is primarily available on Huawei devices. Some Huawei devices initially running Android can be upgraded to HarmonyOS via official updates from Huawei.


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