Huawei’s long-awaited Android replacement is here. On September 10, the company announced that its in-house Harmony OS mobile operating system will be available for phones starting next year.
The announcement came just days before the deadline of the US Department of Commerce, which cut off the company from all possible sources of high-end chips that are essential to the smartphone business and carriers. Analysts said the company may have to stop making equipment by the middle of next year.
The company first released the Harmony operating system in August 2019, shortly after new Huawei devices lost access to Google services on the official version of Android following a US ban in May 2019. Harmony was widely seen as an alternative to Google’s Android mobile operating system but was initially only introduced by Huawei for devices like smart TVs and smart watches.
Start from the beginning
A third operating system alongside Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android could be a major source of revenue for Huawei’s top companies to make up for lost hardware sales. In 2019, cellular services revenue accounted for 10.5% of parent company Google Alphabet’s revenue and 17.8% of Apple’s revenue, according to TechNode calculations.
Experts say it will be difficult for Huawei to generate hardware revenue from the new operating system. The company faces challenges ranging from establishing a profitable business model to attracting application developers. When Huawei can no longer make smartphones, it will be difficult to convince other phone manufacturers to adopt the system.
Google and Apple are reducing transactions on their platforms by 30%. This includes selling apps and digital content, as well as in-app purchases.
According to Rich Bishop, CEO of Appinchina, a company that helps foreign developers distribute their applications in China, there is a difference in China that makes it difficult to generate revenue.
“All [third-party Android] app stores in China only make money from games. There is no charge for any use other than that of the games. “
“But if they can get Harmony OS up and running, for example 500 million people around the world are using Harmony OS to download apps and games from the Huawei store, then they could potentially make a lot of money,” he said.
“But it really depends on your ability to convince everyone to sign up for Harmony OS.”
Will Huawei convince developers?
According to Bishop, it is relatively easy for developers to convert an Android application to a Harmony OS application. “Huawei is obviously a large company with many resources and they are working very hard to convince as many developers as possible to implement a Harmony version of their applications,” he said.
According to Richard Yu, President of Huawei’s Consumer Activities, the company’s mobile ecosystem currently has around 1.8 million developers, but only 96,000 apps. Most of these developers have yet to build an app for Harmony OS.
“Most developers will basically wait and see why they don’t want to start allocating resources to develop a third mobile operating system,” Bishop said.
“I think they will see how good the ecosystem is, and if other companies make a lot of money from Harmony OS, they may also choose to develop Harmony OS applications.