Huawei smartphones will soon ditch Android for HarmonyOS

The embattled Chinese firm is going Google-free with homegrown software launching in April

Huawei's Mate X2 with HarmonyOS

Huawei's HarmonyOS operating system will be available on its smartphones starting from April, the Chinese firm has said. 

Huawei CEO Richard Yu made the announcement on Monday during the launch of the company's second foldable device, the Huawei Mate X2. 

From April, Huawei smartphone users will be able to update their devices to HarmonyOS, with the Huawei Mate X2 set to be first-in-line. The foldable phone will be launched in China initially, but HarmonyOS will be made available to other regions around the world. 

HarmonyOS was originally developed for Huawei's wider ecosystem of devices and was mainly intended as an operating system for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. However, after the US government's trade ban, Huawei has had to act quickly to find a replacement for Google's Android software.

The switch has taken around two years, with HarmonyOS first revealed back in 2019. Since then, the Chinese firm has heavily invested in its own app ecosystem, enticing developers to build innovative, consumer-friendly applications to rival Android. 

The company has launched two versions of the Mate series (Mate 30 and Mate 40) and the P40 range with the new app ecosystem. In IT Pro's reviews, each device was considered to be of a very high technical standard, but we felt they were let down by the lack of access to apps like Facebook or Netflix, which consumers demand. 

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Huawei has seen a drop in sales which most experts contribute to the firm's struggles with the US government and Google. The speed at which the firm has developed its rival OS is impressive, but it might take it longer to convince consumers to leave Android, particularly as it still lacks access to many popular apps. 

While the new Huawei Mate X2 will ship without Google services and Android apps, the device boasts an 8-inch foldable display alongside an external 6.45-inch OLED screen. It also features a 90Hz refresh rate, an intricate multi-dimensional hinge, a Kirin 9000 processor and five cameras developed in partnership with Leica. The device looks set to cost around £2,000, though it's not yet clear if it will be made available in the UK. 

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