Android has been one of the two most popular mobile operating systems since it launched back in 2008 – the software is now used by over 2.5 billion devices across the globe.
Apart from Apple, most smartphone producers harness Google’s software for their devices.
One of these manufacturers is Huawei – China’s largest smartphone vendor.
However, the firm’s use of Google’s operating system was shrouded in uncertainty on May 19 when Google revoked Huawei’s Android licence after the Trump administration placed the Chinese firm on a trade blacklist.
Essentially, this meant it was unclear if Huawei devices would receive Google’s forthcoming Android Q operating system or other future updates and patches.
Although the Android block was initially immediately imposed on Huawei Technologies, an extension was since granted to the company – this will expire on August 19.
Huawei has claimed its devices will continue to receive Android updates and patches whether they are granted an Android licence once more or not.
Moreover, the firm has also expressed confidence a number of smartphones, such as the P30 Pro, will indeed be granted Google’s forthcoming Android Q operating system.
In fact, the firm recently held a Developer Conference in China where the its new EMUI 10 software based on Android Q was revealed.
During the event Huawei also unveiled an entirely new operating system dubbed HarmonyOS that could be used as an alternative to Android – but the firm stated this would only be the case if it is unable to utilise Google’s software.
HarmonyOS is designed for a wave of different internet of things (IoT) devices – Huawei is attempting to create an intuitive interface that seamlessly transitions between different pieces of hardware to reduce fragmentation.
Essentially, Huawei believes if a user’s smartwatch runs the same operating system as their smart television, it would not only increase unity between the two devices but also allow for functions to seamlessly be transferred between the two.
This could mean if a user is monitoring a sports game on their watch, they may theoretically be able to instantly stream that particular match to their TV once they get home.
The Chinese tech firm’s insistence that HarmonyOS is only set to debut on IoT devices was reaffirmed shortly after the operating system’s announcement when Honor, owned by Huawei, unveiled a new smart television running the software.
Express.co.uk attended Huawei’s Developer Conference and, after proceedings, spoke with Dr. Wang Chenglu, president of the software engineering department at Huawei Consumer Business Group, about HarmonyOS.
In particular, this outlet asked Mr Wang if he believed harnessing HarmonyOS instead of Android on Huawei smartphones could have any standout advantages.
In response, the Huawei president of software engineering claimed the firm’s new operating system has the ability to outperform Android and iOS in terms of “distribution, performance, power consumption and openness”.
Mr Wang said this was possible because of HarmonyOS’s architecture – the operating system is microkernel-based.
Essentially, this structure is expected to allow HarmonyOS to be distributed to different products easier than competing operating systems.
If true, this means if HarmonyOS is deployed on smartphones in the future, it could have several advantages over its it biggest competitors, such as Google’s Android platform.
The Huawei boss also claimed this could allow developers to more easily distribute their apps to varying hardware.
Finally, he declared although Huawei wants to harness Android for its phones first and foremost, if it is no longer able to work with Google the Chinese firm could deploy HarmonyOS on its handsets within two or three days.
It is presumed Mr Wang was referring to forthcoming smartphones in production and not Huawei devices already in the wild.