Huawei launches the first product with its own operating system — a smart TV

Key Points
  • Huawei launched its own proprietary operating system known as HongmengOS or HarmonyOS last week.
  • The first device to be powered by the operating system is the Honor Vision smart TV.
  • Huawei is still "unclear" on whether it can use Google's Android operating system in the future given the fact it is still on a U.S. blacklist known as the entity list, the company said.
Reasons why Huawei developed its own operating system
Reasons why Huawei developed its own operating system

Huawei's own operating system — called the HarmonyOS — has debuted on an internet-connected TV.

The Chinese tech giant unveiled the the Honor Vision TV on Saturday that will be the first device powered by Huawei's own operating system, the HarmonyOS.

The new OS was launched on Friday amid uncertainties over whether Huawei, caught in the trade war between the U.S. and China, can continue using American technology in its products.

The OS is part of Huawei's so-called "internet of things" strategy where it is trying to create a consistent experience across various connected devices through its software. The Chinese technology giant said HarmonyOS, also known as HongmengOS, will eventually be used across devices from smartphones to smartwatches, and even smart speakers, smartwatches and in-vehicle systems.

Releasing HarmonyOS is also part of the company's back-up plan should it be cut off from U.S. technology. Huawei is on Washington's blacklist — known as the Entity List — which restricts American firms from doing business with it. U.S firms must now seek a special license to sell to Huawei.

Mr. George Zhao, President of Huawei's Honor brand, at the Honor Vision China Launch in Dongguan, China, in August 2019. The Honor Vision TV is Huawei's first product with its proprietary operating system called HarmonyOS.

The Trump administration said recently it would begin approving licenses for some products as long as they do not pose a security risk to the U.S. or its allies.

Huawei uses Google's Android operating system for its smartphones. But analysts told CNBC that not having access to Android could badly hurt Huawei, which is now the second-largest smartphone maker in the world, behind Samsung and ahead of Apple. That is a big reason for Huawei developing its own operating system.

Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei's consumer division, told reporters at a press conference Friday after the HarmonyOS launch, that the situation with Google remains "unclear." He stressed that Huawei would prefer to continue using Android on its smartphones, but if it was unable to, then it could switch to HarmonyOS "immediately."

Released under the Honor brand that Huawei owns, the 55-inch Honor Vision series starts at 3,799 yuan ($538).