Huawei unveils first post-Android OS

Chinese vendor reports 900 million Harmony OS devices as it introduces new OS and latest AI model.

Robert Clark, Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

June 24, 2024

2 Min Read
A Huawei shop in Beijing with people walking past
(Source: Sipa US / Alamy Stock Photo)

Huawei continues to gain momentum, showing how it has reshaped itself in the wake of tough US sanctions to build out new capabilities and growth paths.

The big vendor has been on a roll since it surprised the world with its sanctions-defying 5G chip last September, enabling it to reboot its high-end handset business.

At its developer conference Friday, Huawei execs unwrapped its new Harmony OS and the latest upgrade of its Pangu AI model, two of its most important building blocks for growth and diversification.

The company says that, since its launch five years ago, HarmonyOS has been sold with 900 million devices and forged a developer community of 2.5 million. It has overtaken Apple's iOS to be China's number-two smartphone OS.

It has opened beta testing for HarmonyOS NEXT, which it describes as an "all-scenario intelligent operating system," built on OpenHarmony, that will improve device performance by 30%.

HarmonyOS began as a limited Android-based system for IoT devices, but the HarmonyOS NEXT will be fully independent from the Google-backed platform. 

Humanoid robot

"HarmonyOS truly realizes a system that unifies all device ecology and connects multiple devices and multiple scenarios," Huawei said in a press release. "It is the first operating system for the interconnection of tablets, mobile phones, auto cockpits, and IoT devices."

The unified ecosystem means that developers only need to maintain one application version across all devices.

Richard Yu, head of Huawei's device and smart car business units, told the developer conference that more than 1,500 out of the 5,000 top Harmony applications had already migrated from Android.

Huawei also released its Pangu 5.0 large language model (LLM), a multi-modal system with four different levels, including one with a trillion parameters.

It announced an intelligent LLM version that can support a humanoid robot capable of logical reasoning, task planning and imitating some human actions, Huawei said.

Earlier this year, Huawei reclaimed its spot as China's number-one smartphone brand, thanks to its flagship 5G Mate 60 series.

In March, it reported its strongest full-year result in four years, a profit of 87 billion Chinese yuan (US$12 billion), with revenue up 10%, to RMB704 billion ($97 billion) – its first topline growth since 2019.

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About the Author(s)

Robert Clark

Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

Robert Clark is an independent technology editor and researcher based in Hong Kong. In addition to contributing to Light Reading, he also has his own blog,  Electric Speech ( 

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