Huawei’s Harmony OS – why it has a better chance of taking off than Windows Mobile and Samsung Tizen
The duopoly of Apple iOS and Google Android is well know and it would almost be a surprise if the mobile phone in your hand right now wasn’t powered by one of these two operating systems.
The Windows Mobile OS was late to the party in every way and struggled to gain critical mass and developer support to ensure its survival.
The recent trade-war between the US and China has sparked Huawei to surface its own operating system “Harmony OS” as a contingency plan, in case it loses its access to the Google Android OS altogether through the trade ban.
Harmony OS is a proprietary operating system developed by Huawei as an important part of its strategy to reduce reliance on external firms; maturing its ability from chips to software.
The main failure point for Microsoft in its Mobile Operating System and Samsung’s own Tizen Operating System is its inability to capitalise on the already saturated duopoly market. Both Apple iOS and Google Android are American products, squeezing other mainstream operating systems without a drastic point of difference into the market is an uphill task.
In contrary, the Harmony OS is a Chinese product. As we have seen with Amazon -> Alibaba, Facebook -> WeChat, Youtube -> Youku, Google -> Baidu, each has been successful in its domestic market due to the large population and audience of China.
The Developers Matter
In order to achieve growth in an OS ecosystem, enough developers must develop their applications inside the platform. If not enough apps are on the platform, the users will be reluctant to “invest” into the platform.
There are close to one million developers already inside the Huawei’s product ecosystem. With Huawei already strategically rolling out Harmony OS support to its less critical hardware such as VR gadgets, speakers and wearable technology, the momentum is already starting to pick-up in the background.
In sync with Huawei’s plans to support developers in its ecosystem by slashing fees down to 10-15%, half of its rivals Android / iOS at 30%; together with its claimed ability to develop an app once and flexibility deploy to different devices, there is not shortage in incentives for developers to support Harmony OS.
The Importance of Domestic Market for Harmony OS
As Harmony OS is the first of its kind in China, it has a gigantic opportunity ahead. A market of 1.3 billion people is not something to be sneezed at, and that is just its domestic market. The biggest difference between Harmony OS and its rivals is that in order to succeed, it really only needs to focus on serving the domestic market to capturing enough developers and users to sustain its ecosystem.
Government influence and supporting local companies and its products will undoubtedly come into the equation. In a way the US-China trade-war is giving China no choice but to build and support its local ecosystem.
The mobile operating system space is set to change with the recent introduction of Harmony OS and Google’s Fuchsia. Let’s brace for change as we march into a confusing yet exciting time ahead.
Speaking of which, what is Apple up to?