HarmonyOS logo.svg
Written inC, C++, Java
OS familyUnix-like
Working stateCurrent
Initial releaseAugust 9, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-08-09)
Latest release2.0.0.116 / June 2, 2021; 5 months ago (2021-06-02)
Latest preview2.0.0.215 / May 28, 2021; 6 months ago (2021-05-28)
Marketing targetSmartphones, tablet computers, smart TVs, Smartwatches
Package manager.app on HAP[1]
Kernel typeMulti-kernel design (Linux kernel, HarmonyOS microkernel, or LiteOS)[2]
Official websitewww.harmonyos.com/en/
Written inC, C++
OS familyLiteOS
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseSeptember 10, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-09-10)
Latest release1.1.3 LTS / September 30, 2021; 2 months ago (2021-09-30)
Latest preview2.2 Beta 2 / August 4, 2021; 3 months ago (2021-08-04)
Marketing targetInternet of Things, smartwatches
LicenseApache license
Official websiteopenharmony.io
Simplified Chinese鸿蒙
Traditional Chinese鴻蒙

HarmonyOS (Chinese: 鸿蒙; pinyin: Hóngméng) is a distributed operating system developed by Huawei to run on multiple devices.[3][4] In a multi-kernel design, the operating system selects suitable kernels from the abstraction layer for devices with diverse resources.[4][5][6] For IoT devices, the system is known to be based on LiteOS; while for smartphones and tablets, it is based on a Linux kernel and has used the open-source Android code to support running Android apps, in addition to HarmonyOS apps.[7]

The system includes a communication base DSoftBus for integrating physically separate devices into a virtual Super Device, allowing one device to control others and sharing data among devices with distributed communication capabilities.[8][9][10] It supports several forms of apps, including the apps that can be installed from AppGallery on smartphones and tablets, installation-free Quick apps and lightweight Atomic Services accessible by users.[11][12][13]

HarmonyOS was first used in Honor smart TVs in August 2019[14] and later used in Huawei smartphones, tablets and smartwatches in June 2021.[15]



Reports surrounding an in-house operating system being developed by Huawei date back as far as 2012.[16][17] These reports intensified during the Sino-American trade war, after the United States Department of Commerce added Huawei to its Entity List in May 2019 under an indictment that it knowingly exported goods, technology and services of U.S. origin to Iran in violation of sanctions. This prohibited U.S.-based companies from doing business with Huawei without first obtaining a license from the government.[18][19][20][21][22] Huawei executive Richard Yu described an in-house platform as a "plan B" in case it is prevented from using Android on future smartphone products due to the sanctions.[23][24][25]

Prior to its unveiling, it was originally speculated to be a mobile operating system that could replace Android on future Huawei devices. In June 2019, an Huawei executive told Reuters that the OS was under testing in China, and could be ready "in months", but by July 2019, some Huawei executives described the OS as being an embedded operating system designed for IoT hardware, discarding the previous statements for it to be a mobile operating system.[26]

Some media outlets reported that this OS, referred to as "Hongmeng", could be released in China in either August or September 2019, with a worldwide release in the second quarter of 2020.[27][28] On 24 May 2019, Huawei registered "Hongmeng" as a trademark in China.[29] The name "Hongmeng" (Chinese: 鸿蒙; lit. 'Vast Mist') came from Chinese mythology that symbolizes primordial chaos or the world before creation.[30] The same day, Huawei registered trademarks surrounding "Ark OS" and variants with the European Union Intellectual Property Office.[31] In July 2019, it was reported that Huawei had also registered trademarks surrounding the word "Harmony" for desktop and mobile operating system software, indicating either a different name or a component of the OS.[32]


On 9 August 2019, Huawei officially unveiled HarmonyOS at its inaugural developers' conference in Dongguan. Huawei described HarmonyOS as a free, microkernel-based distributed operating system for various types of hardware. The company focused primarily on IoT devices, including smart TVs, wearable devices, and in-car entertainment systems, and did not explicitly position HarmonyOS as a mobile OS.[33][34]

HarmonyOS 2.0 launched at the Huawei Developer Conference on 10 September 2020. Huawei announced it intended to ship the operating system on its smartphones in 2021.[35] The first developer beta of HarmonyOS 2.0 was launched on 16 December 2020. Huawei also released the DevEco Studio IDE, which is based on IntelliJ IDEA, and a cloud emulator for developers in early access.[36][37]

Huawei officially released HarmonyOS 2.0 and launched new devices shipping with the OS in June 2021, and started rolling out system upgrades to Huawei's older phones for users gradually.[38][39][40]

HarmonyOS apps

In contrast to Android apps being packaged into APK file format, HarmonyOS apps are released as an App Pack suffixed with .app for distribution at Huawei's AppGallery. Each App Pack contains one or more HarmonyOS Ability Package (HAP) files and a pack.info file.[41]

The AppGallery allows users to download and install Android apps that are compatible with HarmonyOS, and apps that are specifically designed for HarmonyOS in an APP pack.[42] For general differentiation, some HarmonyOS apps are marked with an "HMOS" subscript on the app icon,[43] and an underline beneath the app icon to signify the features of service cards available in HarmonyOS. Apps that are developed using specific HarmonyOS features will not be supported on devices running Android.[44][45]

Both HarmonyOS apps and Android apps are allowed to utilize Huawei Mobile Services as an option. However, the distributed communication technology provided in HarmonyOS system is made available for HarmonyOS apps, but not Android apps, based on the design of the operating system.[46][47]

As of June 2021, there were reportedly around 500,000 developers participated in developing HarmonyOS apps.[48]


The Huawei P30 is one of several Huawei devices to run HarmonyOS.

Huawei stated that HarmonyOS would initially be used on devices targeting the Chinese market. The company's former subsidiary brand, Honor, unveiled the Honor Vision line of smart TVs as the first consumer electronics devices to run HarmonyOS.[49][34] The HarmonyOS 2.0 beta launched on 16 December 2020 supports the P30 series, P40 series, Mate 30 series, Mate 40 series, P50 series and MatePad Pro.[50] HarmonyOS 2.0 was released as updates for the P40 and Mate X2 in June 2021. New Huawei Watch and MatePad Pro models shipping with HarmonyOS were also unveiled.[39][40] As of October, 2021, HarmonyOS 2.0 has over 150 million users.[51][52]

Relationship with OpenHarmony, Android and LiteOS

OpenHarmony is an open-source version of HarmonyOS donated by Huawei to the OpenAtom Foundation. It supports devices running a mini system with memory as small as 128 KB, or running a standard system with memory greater than 128 MB.[53] The open-source operating system contains the basic capabilities of HarmonyOS and does not depend on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).[54]

Conversely, HarmonyOS runs on Huawei's proprietary architecture and has used the AOSP code and a Linux kernel in smartphones to enable the operating system to run Android apps, in addition to HarmonyOS apps, on devices launching Huawei Mobile Services.[55]

Legal issues

In May 2019, Huawei applied for registration of the trademark "Hongmeng" through the Chinese Patent Office CNIPA, but the application was rejected in pursuance to Article 30 of the PRC Trade Mark Law, citing the trademark was similar to that of "CRM Hongmeng" in graphic design and "Hongmeng" in Chinese word.[56]

In less than a week before launching HarmonyOS 2.0 and new devices by Huawei, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court announced the first-instance judgement in May 2021 to uphold the decision by CNIPA as the trademark was not sufficiently distinctive in terms of its designated services.[57][58]

However, it was reported that the trademark had officially been transferred from Huizhou Qibei Technology to Huawei by end of May 2021.[59]


In depth analysis of Huawei's developer tools by Ars Technica, HarmonyOS running on smartphones was criticised as a rebranded version of Android and EMUI with nearly identical code bases.[60] Following the release of the HarmonyOS 2.0 beta, Ars Technica and XDA Developers speculated that the smartphone version of the OS had been forked from Android 10. Ars Technica found that it resembled the existing EMUI software used on Huawei devices, but with all references to "Android" replaced by "HarmonyOS". It was also noted that the DevEco Studio software shared components and toolchains with Android Studio.[37][61] However, the article was refuted by a famous China IT blogger shortly, pointing out most of the criticisms mentioned in the article were wrong. [62]

When testing the new MatePad Pro in June 2021, Android Authority and The Verge similarly observed similarities in behavior, including that it was possible to install apps from Android APK files on the HarmonyOS-based tablet, and that it included the Android 10 easter egg—affirming the earlier reports.[63][40]

Initially, Huawei stated that HarmonyOS was a microkernel-based, distributed OS that was completely different from Android and iOS.[64] A Huawei spokesperson subsequently stated that HarmonyOS supports multiple kernels and uses a Linux kernel if a device has a large amount of RAM, and that the company had taken advantage of a large number of third-party open-source resources, including Linux, to accelerate the development of a comprehensive architecture.[63][40]

See also


  1. ^ "Application Fundamentals". Retrieved 2021-06-17.
  2. ^ "About HarmonyOS". Retrieved 2021-06-17.
  3. ^ Porter, Jon (2019-08-09). "Huawei's new operating system is called HarmonyOS". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  4. ^ a b "Document - About HarmonyOS". developer.harmonyos.com. Retrieved 2021-06-17.
  5. ^ Porter, Jon (2021-06-02). "Huawei's Watch 3 is its first HarmonyOS smartwatch". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  6. ^ Porter, Jon (2021-06-02). "Huawei's HarmonyOS arrives on tablets with the new MatePad Pro". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  7. ^ "阿里云资深专家崮德:谈谈我对华为HarmonyOS 2.0的看法". segmentfault.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  8. ^ "Document - Technical Features". developer.harmonyos.com. Retrieved 2021-06-19.
  9. ^ "OpenHarmony/communication_dsoftbus". Gitee (in Chinese). Retrieved 2021-06-19.
  10. ^ "Weekly poll: is HarmonyOS as promising as Android or is it another Windows Phone?". GSMArena.com. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  11. ^ "3 Chinese banks join Huawei's HarmonyOS ecosystem, boosting its commercialization - Global Times". The Edge Markets. 2021-06-07. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  12. ^ "Document - Quick App Introduction". developer.huawei.com. Retrieved 2021-06-30.
  13. ^ "Document - What Is an Atomic Service". developer.harmonyos.com. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  14. ^ "HARMONYOS Everything about HarmonyOS (HongMeng OS) – Features, Eligible Devices, and Release". consumer.huawei.com. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  15. ^ "Huawei Launches a Range of New Products Powered by HarmonyOS 2". huawei. Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  16. ^ "What HarmonyOS 2 means for the Google and Apple duopoly". South China Morning Post. 2021-06-04. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  17. ^ Mishra, Yash (2019-05-20). ""Hongmeng" is Huawei's first ever self developed operating system". Huawei Central. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  18. ^ "Addition of Entities to the Entity List". Federal Register. 2019-05-21. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  19. ^ Webster, Graham (18 May 2019). "It's not just Huawei. Trump's new tech sector order could ripple through global supply chains". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 20 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Tech stocks slide on US decision to blacklist Huawei and 70 affiliates". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  21. ^ Kuo, Lily; Siddiqui, Sabrina (2019-05-16). "Huawei hits back over Trump's national emergency on telecoms 'threat'". The Guardian. Washington. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 20 May 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  22. ^ "US places China's Huawei and 70 affiliates on trade blacklist". South China Morning Post. 16 May 2019. Archived from the original on 22 May 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Addition of Entities to the Entity List". Federal Register. 2019-05-21. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  24. ^ "Huawei confirms it has its own OS on back shelf as a plan B". South China Morning Post. 14 March 2019. Archived from the original on 21 May 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  25. ^ Kharpal, Arjun (15 March 2019). "Huawei built software for smartphones and laptops in case it can't use Microsoft or Google". CNBC. Archived from the original on 22 May 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  26. ^ Keane, Sean. "Huawei says Hongmeng OS isn't designed as an Android replacement". CNET. Archived from the original on 19 July 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  27. ^ Kharpal, Arjun (May 23, 2019). "Huawei says its own operating system could be ready this year if it can't use Google or Microsoft". CNBC.
  28. ^ Cherrayil, Naushad K.; phones, John McCann 2019-05-28T15:33:46Z Mobile (28 May 2019). "Huawei says its Android OS replacement launch date is still undecided [Updated]". TechRadar.
  29. ^ Reichert, Corinne. "Huawei OS may be called 'Hongmeng,' but it's reportedly 'far from ready'". CNET.
  30. ^ Uy, Ed (17 August 2019). "No Google, no problem? Huawei unveils its own OS - Ed Uy". BusinessMirror. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  31. ^ Lucic, Kristijan (2019-05-27). "Huawei's Android Alternative May Be Called "Ark OS"". Android Headlines. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  32. ^ Lakshmanan, Ravie (2019-07-15). "Huawei wants to name its Android OS replacement 'Harmony' in Europe". The Next Web. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  33. ^ "Huawei reveals HarmonyOS, its alternative to Android". Engadget. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  34. ^ a b Porter, Jon (2019-08-09). "Huawei's new operating system is called HarmonyOS". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  35. ^ Kharpal, Arjun (10 September 2020). "Huawei says its own operating system HarmonyOS will come to smartphones next year". CNBC. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  36. ^ "Document - Building and Creating HAPs". developer.harmonyos.com. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  37. ^ a b Amadeo, Ron (2021-02-02). "Huawei's HarmonyOS: "Fake it till you make it" meets OS development". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  38. ^ Kharpal, Arjun (2021-06-02). "Huawei launches its own operating system on smartphones in challenge to Google Android". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  39. ^ a b Kharpal, Arjun (2021-06-02). "Huawei launches its own operating system on smartphones in challenge to Google Android". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  40. ^ a b c d Porter, Jon (2021-06-02). "Huawei's HarmonyOS arrives on tablets with the new MatePad Pro". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  41. ^ "Document - Application Fundamentals". developer.harmonyos.com. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  42. ^ Preston, Dominic. "What is HarmonyOS? Huawei's Android alternative explained". Tech Advisor. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  43. ^ Amit (2021-06-05). "HarmonyOS applications launched: More icons with HMOS corners". Huawei Update. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  44. ^ "Document - Design Overview". developer.harmonyos.com. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  45. ^ Amit (2021-06-05). "HarmonyOS applications launched: More icons with HMOS corners". Huawei Update. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  46. ^ "阿里云资深专家崮德:谈谈我对华为HarmonyOS 2.0的看法". segmentfault.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  47. ^ May 2021, Gavin Dudley 17 (17 May 2021). "HarmonyOS poised to disrupt the tech industry". TechRadar. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  48. ^ "Huawei officially launches HarmonyOS for smartphones". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  49. ^ Porter, Jon (2019-08-10). "The Honor Vision TV is Huawei's first HarmonyOS device". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  50. ^ Jeet (2020-12-15). "Huawei's HarmonyOS 2.0 for smartphones get Android apps support; Beta releasing tomorrow". Gizmochina. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  51. ^ "HarmonyOS devices exceed 150 million - fastest growing OS in history -". Gizchina.com. 2021-10-22. Retrieved 2021-10-31.
  52. ^ Sarkar, Amy (2021-10-22). "Huawei HarmonyOS completes 150 million upgrades". Huawei Central. Retrieved 2021-10-31.
  53. ^ "en/OpenHarmony-Overview.md · OpenHarmony/docs". Gitee (in Chinese). Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  54. ^ "Developers Taking Off AOSP And Show OpenHarmony Pure Version Of System | SPARROWS NEWS". sparrowsnews.com. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  55. ^ "What HarmonyOS 2 means for the Google and Apple duopoly". South China Morning Post. 2021-06-04. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  56. ^ "China IP Case Spotlight: May 2021 (Issue 7) - Intellectual Property - China". www.mondaq.com. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  57. ^ "Huawei's Android replacement may need a new Chinese name". South China Morning Post. 2021-05-13. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  58. ^ Tan, Rouse-Rachel Li-Mei; Am; Yang, a; Cui, Hatty (21 May 2021). "Huawei Hongmeng "Harmony" Trade Mark Refusal Decision was Upheld in the First-Instance Judgment | Lexology". www.lexology.com. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  59. ^ "Huawei has been transferred the trademark of Hongmeng". EqualOcean. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  60. ^ Amadeo, Ron (2021-06-02). "Huawei officially replaces Android with HarmonyOS, which is also Android". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  61. ^ "Huawei's Harmony OS 2.0 beta appears to be based on Android after all". xda-developers. 2020-12-26. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  62. ^ Leo Li's popular science https://b23.tv/byYdBdM. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  63. ^ a b "Harmony OS 2.0 includes Android Q's easter egg app". Android Authority. 2021-06-02. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  64. ^ Li, Deng (2020-09-21). "HarmonyOS/Hongmeng OS: Here's everything you need to know about this new Operating System". Huawei Central. Retrieved 2020-12-20.