Harmony OS: The Advent of a Revolutionary Operating System

Harmony OS: The Advent of a Revolutionary Operating System

Huawei has been going through quite a difficult time over the last few years, and the pressure on them is increasing as time goes on. But the Chinese tech giant will not give up, at least not without a hard fight! Last year, at the Huawei Developer Conference (HDC-2019), they unveiled their own operating system, Harmony OS, which sheds light on several important aspects of the future operating system.

That year the Honor Vision smart TV and some smartwatches with this operating system were brought to the market. This year Huawei has unveiled the second version of their operating system (HarmonyOS 2.0) and announced that Huawei would also use this operating system on smartphones from next year. Today’s article will discuss Huawei’s operating system as well as its various aspects.

Is Harmony OS Linux based?

No. Harmony OS is based on Huawei’s own kernel. Its architectural design is entirely different from Linux. Where Linux is a monolithic kernel, Harmony OS’s kernel is a micro-kernel.

Image source: Deskmodder

The question is, What does monolithic or micro-kernel actually mean?

Simply put, inside every operating system, there is a kernel at the very core level – based on which other structures of the operating system are built. The kernel is called the operating system’s lifeblood, which connects the operating system to a variety of hardware or resources and determines how a program will be executed/launched. Each kernel has to perform several essential tasks, and each kernel performs these tasks individually.

Today’s modern operating systems try to separate the ‘user application software’ from the operating system’s sensitive part. You can imagine it as a solid wall in the middle of memory that system-level services and application software use separately. This is done for two important reasons, ‘security and stability’.

For example, the Linux kernel allows many system-level utilities and processes to run only through certain memory areas. But Harmony OS does this job differently. It plays a very prudent role in what will run in kernel mode and, at the same time, effectively limits the running services from the very beginning.

Monolithic kernels like Linux may not be as discreet. Micro-kernels are much more challenging to create than monolithic. As the name implies, micro-kernels are tiny kernels. As a result, it can be used in any device. This allows Harmony OS to be installed on small devices such as smartwatches, as well as smartphones, laptops, and even supercomputers!

Image source: News Geek

Features of Harmony OS: Why is it called Revolutionary?

Earlier it was said that Harmony OS is an operating system that can be used on any device. This can be considered as an example of the ultimate foresight towards the future of Huawei.

Harmony OS made a concept come true that no one else has yet fully realized. And that is ‘One Operating System For Every Device’, meaning the only operating system for all types of devices! According to the latest information, Google is also working on a new operating system called ‘Fuscia‘ with the same idea in mind, which is still uncertain when it will come to the market.

So Huawei is the first company to implement this new trend to develop an operating system that can be used on any device. All the operating systems that will come forward will follow this trend. One of the reasons for this is that as the days go by, we are using multiple devices and not just having multiple devices, these devices have to work in conjunction with each other from being connected to each other.

Think about it, maybe you have a smartwatch or health tracker with you, which connects to your phone, and they are keeping in touch with each other all the time. The smart TV that you have at home is also connected to your phone or laptop. Since they are connected, you can use many functions of the phone with your smartwatch if you want; In addition to controlling your home smart TV from your phone, you can do many more things. If these devices couldn’t connect or talk to each other, would you be able to get these benefits? Never!

In this way, as time goes on, people bring multiple devices together in a network, which is often referred to as eco-system. And 5/6 years from now, when the fourth industrial revolution based technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), or AIOT will be fully implemented, hundreds, thousands of devices will be connected and work together. So Can you imagine the future needs even a little bit?

Let the present come again from the future.

Let’s take a look at the multiple devices we currently use in an eco-system. Today’s different types of devices use different types of operating systems! These various operating systems are again built following different frameworks, and they do every work differently!

Image source: harmonyosofficial.com

This is the biggest aspect of Harmony OS. It can be used on any type of device, so you don’t have to worry about connecting multiple devices.

Having the same operating system on all devices does not mean that they have to bring a new general framework, which is a lot of trouble to do now. There is also no need to develop separate applications for different devices in this operating system. Once you create an application for any one device, it can be used on all devices.

This is a significant advantage for app developers. Because they don’t have to develop new apps for different devices, developing will be much easier. For example, if you want to make an Android app, you need to know the Android framework and follow it. If you’re going to use the same app on Windows, you have to follow a completely different framework; if you want to run it on Mac OS or Linux, you have to follow a completely different framework! That means four platforms have to follow the four different frameworks and create the same app four times in a whole new way!

This is just a nightmare for the developers! In the case of Harmony OS, this issue is like milk and rice! You create a one-time app for a framework, and it can be used on all other devices without any hassle.

Image source: Google Watch Blog

This is the subject of software. Now let’s move on to hardware. You must be wondering how can a single operating system be installed on different types of devices?

The memory-processing-power-work of a simple smartwatch is negligible, and a computer’s work is much more complex and varied. So how can the same operating system work on these two completely different types of devices? Harmony OS really has to be applauded here.

Take a look at Windows before explaining how Harmony OS will work. You can work by connecting a separate printer to your Windows if you want, and you can also work by connecting a camera, speaker, or monitor to the same computer. So think about how these different devices or modules are working on Windows? As you can see, for these modules to work with Windows, separate drivers and other software have been created for them with the Windows framework in mind; only then can they work with Windows, right?

Now, look at Harmony OS. Imagine the same thing with Harmony OS – imagine different devices instead of just different modules! Imagine a monitor for Windows, a smart-TV for Harmony, a Windows camera as a smartphone for Harmony, or a Windows printer as a Harmony laptop! Do you understand now? In Harmony OS, separate devices will be connected to the main framework as separate modules. This is exactly why an operating system can be used on all devices.

As easy as this process is explained, it isn’t easy to work with! Anyway, it would help if you had got a basic idea from the explanation above how Harmony Os will work.

Now you must have no doubt in your mind exactly why Harmony OS started a revolutionary trend!

Will Harmony OS succeed?

Whether an operating system will be successful depends on many factors. The same goes for Harmony. Huawei is currently under the wrath of the US government. The company was first banned from doing business with the American company and using Google’s Android, citing security threats against Huawei. Even then, when Huawei was bringing smartphones to the market by connecting Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) to the open-source version of Android. The Trump administration stopped all Huawei’s processors’ production and then all avenues to bring processors/chipsets from other companies.

According to the latest situation, Huawei will not be able to buy any parts from any company that uses American technology, including Samsung-LG! Under such circumstances, Huawei announced their Harmony OS 2.0. Even if Huawei overcomes these hurdles and launches a smartphone with Harmony OS, it will still have to compete with established operating systems like Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS! In the case of computers, the competition will be with giants like Windows or Mac-OS.

According to various sources, Harmony OS will have Android/iOS app compatibility. Huawei has confirmed that apps from other operating systems can be easily ported to it. Harmony OS will be very lightweight and efficient. Huawei also has great opportunities to support multiple devices and develop apps for Harmony OS. For the developers’ convenience, Huawei has opened the source of Harmony, which means that like Linux, it is also an open-source operating system. As a result, anyone can work with this operating system.

The overall discussion shows that just as there are many strong reasons for Harmony to succeed, there are also some tough challenges ahead! So its success or failure will depend on how efficiently Huawei can attract developers for their operating system and collaborate with other companies. There will always be global competition, world politics, and many more. The US government’s growing trade war with China, in particular, will have a huge impact on Huawei and Harmony OS.

Since Harmony OS is in line with China’s vision of self-reliance-2025, it is safe to say that it will be successful in the Chinese domestic market. But whether it succeeds at all in the global market will depend on Huawei’s efficiency.

This article is everything about Huawei’s latest operating system ‘Harmony OS.’

Reference Links:

  1. The new Huawei OS is finally coming to phones!
  2. Huawei is replacing Android
  4. Huawei’s Harmony OS is coming to smartphones, with code release promised for October 2021
  5. Huawei to shift phones to its own Harmony operating system from 2021
  6. What Is Harmony OS? Huawei’s New Operating System Explained
  7. Huawei’s HarmonyOS is coming to smartphones
  8. Harmony OS – Alternative of iOS & Android by Huawei?

Featured Image: arstechnica.com