In a significant shift from its current operating system strategy, Huawei is set to introduce HarmonyOS Next, an upcoming version of its HarmonyOS, which will notably not support Android applications. This move comes as a result of the US ban imposed on Huawei in May 2019, which restricted the company’s use of American technology, including Android, widely used in many of Huawei’s products, particularly smartphones.
Huawei initially responded to this challenge by launching its own operating system, HarmonyOS, in August 2019. Based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), HarmonyOS was compatible with Android applications, allowing a smoother transition for users and developers. However, the upcoming HarmonyOS Next marks a departure from this approach.
During the Huawei Developers Conference 2023 held last August, Huawei announced HarmonyOS Next. The developer preview of this new OS version is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2024, followed by a public launch. Reports from the South China Morning Post and Pandaily indicate that HarmonyOS Next will not utilize Android libraries, and consequently, will not support Android apps. Instead, it will only support the ‘HAP’ installation package, differing from the Android Package (APK) used by Android.
This change is expected to have significant implications for both companies and end users. Companies will now face the additional task and associated costs of developing applications specifically for HarmonyOS Next. For end users, this could mean a temporary lack of access to their favorite apps on the Huawei AppGallery following the launch of HarmonyOS Next, as many developers may still be in the process of creating apps for the new platform.
As of now, there is no clear information on how this change will affect markets outside China. This development represents a major shift in Huawei’s strategy, potentially impacting its global market presence and the broader ecosystem of mobile applications.
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