After the launch at the Huawei Developer Conference in Dongguan, China on August 9, 2019, Huawei has been showcased it's fabled 'HarmonyOS' – a new microkernel-based, distributed operating system in Dhaka with a handful of journalists. This OS is supposedly 'designed to deliver a cohesive user experience across all devices and scenarios' according to Huawei. Sounds appealing and alarming at the same time.
I have been following the development of HarmonyOS long since the Android Ban. Developed to be a device-agnostic system leveraging the upcoming 5G connection, HarmoyOS promises many things: distributed OS, secured architecture, cross-platform capabilities, improved benchmark scores compared to competing platforms like Fuschia etc.
In the presentation that we saw by Huawei's HQ based Product Guru Raymond Zou, had a lot of the details of the upcoming features of HarmonyOS which Huawei envisioned ten years back and started working on it. The micro-kernel based structure is going to reduce the number of layers from the OSI model making the OS flexible and secure at the same time.
Moreover, according to Huawei, the 'Deterministic Latency Engine' of HarmonyOS can set task execution priorities and time limits for scheduling in advance. Resources will gravitate toward tasks with higher priorities, reducing the response latency of apps by 25.7%. That's a significant improvement over Android. Formal verification in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is something HarmonyOS is also betting on to ensure security.
On pen and paper, this sounds really impressive. But the true potential of HarmonyOS and its capability to reign the market will be dependent on a lot of factors. Let's look at the numbers: Android has a market share of around 77% and of the smartphone market, Huawei has around 16% market share. So, it has a long way to go. And with Fuschia coming in, HarmonyOS is going to face stern competition.