HarmonyOS 2.0 - the next major release of Huawei's proprietary operating system - will be coming to smartphones in 2021, as confirmed by CEO Richard Yu during the company's annual developer conference on 10 September.
The company introduced HarmonyOS last year to serve as a new platform for the various consumer products it makes, starting with the Huawei Vision smart TV.
At HDC 2020, Yu launched the HarmonyOS 2.0 beta for developers, designed to be supported on smart TVs, smartwatches and in-car head units, with smartphone SDK tools arriving later this year, in December.
Support for devices (not explicitly just phones) with 128MB to 4GB of RAM will be added in April 2021, while devices with over 4GB of RAM will be supported by October 2021. These dates don't necessarily reflect when Huawei will launch phones running HarmonyOS, but rather affect what kinds of devices third-party developers will be able to build for and when.
For developers, one of the benefits of developing for HarmonyOS includes cross-device app scaling and support; meaning apps should work as well on a tablet as they do on a phone, with minimal-to-no need for adaptation or alteration on the part of the developer.
With the ongoing effects of the US government's entity list making it difficult for Huawei to operate at the same degree as it once did, globally - hindering the development and adoption of its Android-powered smartphones, for example - HarmonyOS has been viewed by many as a potential path forward for the company and as a means of taking back some control against seemingly dire circumstances.
The next major smartphone release on Huawei's calendar is expected to be the Huawei Mate 40 Series, which will likely be the first of the company's phones to run EMUI 11 (atop open-source Android), which the company also announced at HDC 2020.
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