<Editor's Pick> With Harmony OS 2.0 revealing, Huawei must succeed in this battle

Sep 16, 2020 Other HUAWEI

Huawei Harmony OS 2.0 didn't miss a beat and arrived on time in this sensitive time with five days left until September 15.

On September 10, at Huawei University, located at its headquarters in Shenzhen, Huawei had three days of conversations and brainstorming around Harmony OS, HMS Core (Huawei Mobile Core Services), and EMUI 11 (an operating system based on Google's Android development).

Since May last year, the US has launched three rounds of sanctions against Huawei, which has been affected by a list of entities that caused Huawei to face a situation where it has no operating system and no chips to use, with September 15 being the deadline to cut off supplies. At the same time, the recent news from the industry chain, Korean and U.S. storage chip makers Samsung, Hynix, Micron will also successively cut off supply.

Against this backdrop of continuous bad news, the release of Harmony OS 2.0 is particularly pathetic. Compared to the 2019 Huawei Developer Conference, Huawei Consumer Business CEO Yu Chengdong's speech was also drastically reduced to a third of last year's time, at just 18 minutes.

At the press conference, Yu was slightly emotional and dignified, "During this Developer Conference, Huawei is in a difficult period of the third round of U.S. sanctions."

As with previous press conferences, Yu began by reviewing the achievements of Huawei's consumer business over the past nine years. In 2012, Yu Chengdong officially took over Huawei's terminal business, and under Yu's leadership, Huawei's handset sales grew from 30 million units to 240 million units, and its consumer business continued to grow at a rapid pace even after three rounds of attacks from the United States.

"Huawei's strength remains strong, with the world's largest volume in the mobile phone and wearable device markets, a fully upgraded Hong of Harmony OS 2.0, the world's third-largest mobile app ecosystem with 1.8 million developers and a determination to fully open up its hardware and software capabilities to developers, all foreshadowing the rise of this new technology ecosystem, " Yu said.

At the end of the speech, Yu Chengdong didn't forget to mention TikTok, which is caught in a "trap" in the US, "I hope Huawei's application can become a successful international application just like TikTok." It's quite like a sympathetic relationship between the best of the best.

In 2019, Huawei held its first Developer Conference. Exactly one year later, developments have escalated and evolved beyond anyone's imagination. What kind of innovation has Huawei Harmony OS to deal with the external blockade has become a question in the minds of many industry players?


How has Harmony OS changed after one year?

In fact, three days before the press conference, Yu Chengdong has already told the outside world the real progress of the current stage of Harmony OS, “Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the Harmony OS and the experience is improving all the time, reaching the 70-80% level of Android, improving every day, every week and every month. We started to build our own ecology and are determined to make it successful.”

According to Yu, in order to build a new ecological platform, Huawei Harmony OS has gathered 1.8 million developers, 490 million active users, 96,000 application integration HMS, and cumulative application distribution of 261 billion.

With AI artificial intelligence, distributed, imaging, communication, and AR mapping (Huawei Cyberverse technology) graphics rendering, HMS Core 5.0 software and hardware capabilities will be fully open. Especially in scenario APIs, it has surpassed Google's GMS Core, which is more than fourteen times last year.

The rapid growth of Huawei's Harmony OS ecology can be intuitively felt from the change in data. As Zhang Pingan, president of Huawei's consumer business cloud services said, Huawei planted a seed last year that has already sprouted this year.

Last year, Huawei Harmony OS 1.0 was defined as a future-oriented, distributed operating system that includes distributed capabilities, once-developed, multi-deployed, and a highly secure, reliable, and verifiable technique based on formulas. This year, Harmony OS 2.0 has been redefined to enable the full ecosystem, including five capabilities: cross-device, service streaming, high speed, visual and verbal function, and privacy plus security.

According to the timeline of the Harmony OS 2.0 Beta release for application developers announced by Yu Chengdong on September 10, 2020, the system is mainly for three types of terminals including watches, cars, big screen. In December, the system will be officially for mobile phones to achieve leapfrog development of different terminals.

Yu said, "There is no need to question whether Huawei Harmony OS is a closed or open system. Huawei Harmony OS will be fully open and empower Huawei's open ecosystem to developers and eco-partners around the world.”

An open-source ecology, of course, is essential. September 10, Harmony OS 2.0 is open to end devices with less than 128MB of memory. In October 2021, the system will be open source for all devices over 4GB and will be available to developers worldwide, sharing Huawei's global network and channels. Yu concluded by looking ahead to a vision that all the applications on the mobile phone terminals would be used in the car machine field.

Compared to last year's conference, one noticeable change is that the concept of "microkernel" has taken a back seat and "distributed" capabilities are frequently mentioned.

There are many different theories about microkernels, which at one time caused heated discussions in the industry. At the software resource level, the microkernel reduces stacking, increases internal operating speed, can allocate resources more efficiently than Android, improves app response speed, and is more secure. This year, however, the microkernel appeared zero times at the Developer Conference, instead of devoting a larger section to distributed soft buses, distributed data management and security.

In addition to the change in concept focus, Huawei also announced several key products. For example, EMUI 11 on the upcoming flagship phone Mate 40 series, Huawei's search engine for the mobile field, and the research platform focusing on front-end research.

With so many iterations and updates of products, technical capabilities, and ecological partnerships, Huawei is making a big effort to break through the soil, germinate, and grow into a towering tree in the industry. But is it possible for Huawei to break out of the existing OS market and become the third-largest OS outside of Apple's iOS and Google's Android?


The battle for OS has just begun

There is never a shortage of "rich startups" in the OS market.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Samsung's Tizen, Nokia's Symbian, BlackBerry's BlackBerry OS, and Alibaba's YunOS, all briefly brilliant, trying to challenge the Apple iOS and Google Android, but in the end have been defeated.

There are always similar reasons for success, but different reasons for failure.

“Nokia started out as the ruler and defender of the game, without an open mind to embrace the fast-growing open-source ecosystem of Android, and eventually, with declining sales and fewer system carriers, its own ecosystem gradually became unable to compete with Android. BlackBerry, Microsoft, and Samsung are too small, and also tend to be closed ecosystems. They are unable to attract a large number of developers to build and optimize the ecosystem,” IDC analyst Wang Xi said.

Wang Xi further told GeekPark that other Chinese operating systems did not have a partnership with headphone manufacturers and its own features performed poorly. Although the small ecological start is similar, in contrast, Google Android is an open-source ecology, in the early development of the smartphone with the power of global programmers to quickly iterate and improve. The partner layout is extensive and many partners subsequently developed into the industry's mobile phone giants.

Therefore, if the mobile phone operating system wants to succeed, three elements are essential: functional technology, ecology and cooperative allies.

However, the era has been upgraded from a one-dimensional space to the Internet of Everything stage. The technology gap between manufacturers is getting smaller and smaller, and technology can no longer become a barrier for the new generation of operating systems to break the old generation of dominant market monopoly. The real limiting factor is the construction of ecology.

At the press conference, Wang Chenglu, president of Huawei's consumer business software division, mentioned the difficulties faced by Huawei Harmony OS, “There is an order of magnitude difference in the difficulty of making technology and ecology, and the ecology involved in operating systems is very, very difficult in terms of its scope, number of domains and depth of content.” Wang Chenglu called on all forces in China to unite.

That's why Yu repeatedly stressed the importance of developers: "No one can extinguish the starry sky, and every developer is the spark that Huawei wants to gather.”

Huawei has doubled the number of developers compared to last year, but compared to Google Android's nearly 14 million developers, Huawei is just the first step in a long journey. In the face of the third round of even fiercer sanctions, Huawei has no choice but to fight back.


This is an article from WeChat official accounts GeekPark(ID: geekpark), written by Qianqian, translated by Linda Yang.