During the presentation of the new foldable Mate X2, Huawei CEO Richard Yu made a small hint that HarmonyOS was perhaps the real star of the premiere, because Yu said that Mate X2 will be among the first phones to show off in April Huawei’s new operating system.
HarmonyOS, born from an estrangement
The history of HarmonyOS revolves around an immense political-economic universe, because the “homemade” operating system from Huawei had to find the strength to come into the world amid the dizzying collapse of the company’s smartphone sales and in the midst of the global crisis from shortage of chips.
As if that weren’t enough, it originated from a departure, that is, from the trade ban of former US President Trump, which forced him not only to exist but also to grow quickly.
We have already seen that this haste has produced an understandable hybridization, given that HarmonyOS for smartphones in order to come into the world had to ask for genetic material from Android soon; although Huawei has clearly specified that, “since HarmonyOS leverages a large number of third-party open-source resources, it has also drawn on the open source code of AOSP (Android Open Source Project).”
Being forced to give up Google services for about two years has led Huawei to abandon the top positions it had been used to in the past; and now it sees Oppo, Xiaomi, Samsung and Apple ahead of it in the ranking of smartphone sales.
With Apple growing, HarmonyOS also means less than Google
In this scenario, the arrival of HarmonyOS in April, and even on a complex phone such as the Mate X2 undoubtedly, smacks of rebirth. And however this rebirth goes, even with a HarmonyOS with pieces of Android inside, its taste will be a bit bitter for Google, which in this specific case seems to occupy the role of the underdog that no one had considered in the Trump-Huawei war.
In 2017, when it was only behind leaders Samsung in smartphone shipments and market share, Huawei shipped 153 million phones. In the second quarter of 2020, despite American restrictions already in place, it is became the first smartphone manufacturer in the world, according to Canalys.
In the last quarter of 2020, Huawei still sold 182 million, but the annual growth compared to 2019 has a downward curve that recorded -24%. Market share was down 41%. And so in the end, in 2020 Apple outperformed all competitors in sales and market share (although the data doesn’t take into account categories and price points). However, more Apple and less Huawei also means less Google.
Whatever the result of Huawei’s rebirth, it will still mean “less Google” on the market, especially if the Chinese giant manages over time to truly create a third ecosystem that will want to cross the road between Cupertino and Mountain View, and with Apple having entered a preferential lane and seems to be accelerating too.
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