Based on recent reports, Huawei Technologies’ mobile devices will no longer support Android applications in the latest version of their HarmonyOS (Next) operating system. According to local media Caixin, the upcoming Huawei operating system update marks the end of the relationship between the Chinese company and Google. Apparently, Huawei aims to emulate Apple and iOS by creating and strengthening its own software ecosystem. This means that developers who want to reach hundreds of millions of potential customers in the short term will need to adapt their applications to Huawei’s operating system.
It’s worth remembering that Huawei first introduced its HarmonyOS operating system in 2019. HarmonyOS arrived one year after the United States began imposing restrictions, which resulted in Huawei devices using Android but without access to Android applications. This left Huawei without Google’s official store and services such as Gmail or Google Maps. Since then, Huawei has utilized alternative app stores, or its own, to install Android applications. However, these devices will no longer be compatible with any Android application.
During the second quarter of this year, Huawei plans to launch a developer version of its HarmonyOS Next platform. If all goes well, a full commercial version will arrive in the fourth quarter. Thanks to the developer version, developers can start adapting their applications for the final version of the operating system expected to release later this year.
HarmonyOS Next will complete Huawei’s break from Android, providing an alternative operating system while maintaining its open-source and modular features. Interestingly, it won’t be based on Linux. With the fluidity of iOS already achieved using Android, it will be exciting to see what the next step will be.
Hundreds of millions of Huawei devices will be compatible with the new HarmonyOS version, potentially causing Google to lose millions of Android users within days or weeks. This could also significantly impact Android’s market share against iOS and, of course, HarmonyOS Next, which aims to become relevant in Asia.
By October 2023, Huawei celebrated over 100 million devices with HarmonyOS 4 installed, averaging 1.1 million devices updating to HarmonyOS daily. Counterpoint data shows that during Q3 2023, HarmonyOS held a 3% market share, with its main competitors being iOS with 16% and Android with 81%.
It’s logical to assume that HarmonyOS has continued to increase its market share, especially with the success of the Huawei Mate 60 series. While it may still be impossible for HarmonyOS to compete with Android, Huawei’s current goal is to get closer to Apple and its iOS operating system.
Huawei expects to have 5,000 native applications for HarmonyOS NEXT by the end of the year and hopes to surpass 500,000 applications in the near future.
In conclusion, Huawei’s HarmonyOS will no longer be compatible with Android applications by the end of 2024.