Huawei unveils own operating system HarmonyOS to compete with Android

AFP Beijing Aug 09, 2019, 12.55 PM(IST)

File photo: Huawei logo at a shopping mall in Shanghai, China. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Huawei was the world's number two smartphone producer last year, ahead of Apple and behind South Korea's Samsung.

Chinese telecom giant Huawei unveiled its own operating system on Friday, as it faces the threat of losing access to Android systems and US sanctions.

Richard Yu, the head of Huawei's consumer business, told a press conference in the southern city of Dongguan that the new system, called HarmonyOS, would "bring more harmony to the world".

On Thursday, Beijing had said US rules banning technology giant Huawei and other Chinese firms from government contracts amounted to  "abuse of state power" amid an escalating China-US trade war.

Huawei's new operating system comes amid US moves to blacklist it, citing national security concerns, cutting it off from American-made components it needs for products - though it was issued a 90-day reprieve in May.

That ban could prevent the Chinese tech firm from getting hold of key hardware and software including smartphone chips and elements of the Google Android operating system even as Huawei said it would challenge the move in federal court. 

Huawei was the world's number two smartphone producer last year, ahead of Apple and behind South Korea's Samsung, as well as the largest provider of telecom networking equipment, but the firm has emerged as a key bone of contention in the wider China-US trade war.

Washington accuses Huawei of working directly with the Chinese government, a claim the company denies.

The US fears that systems built by Huawei could be used by Beijing for espionage via secret "backdoors" built into telecom networking equipment.

Fears have also heightened over the coming rollout of super-fast 5G networks expected to power the next wave of technological development. 

The latest US restrictions unveiled on Wednesday also bar contracts to Chinese firms ZTE, Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company and Dahua Technology Company.