As it adjusts to losing access to Google mobile services two years ago after the US placed the Chinese telecommunications company on a trade blacklist, Huawei is launching its own HarmonyOS mobile operating system on its handsets.
On Wednesday, Huawei was expected to announce the release of HarmonyOS for a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets.
After the US placed Huawei on an entity list, accusing it of aiding China’s espionage efforts — an accusation the company vehemently denies — the company is still cut off from essential American technologies such as Google’s mobile services and some computer chips needed to power its devices.
Because Huawei is on the entity list, American companies are prohibited from doing business with the Chinese telecommunications equipment and smartphone manufacturer. Huawei has suffered a significant setback as a result of the blacklist, as it relies on critical US technologies.
According to data from market research firm Canalys, Huawei, once the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, dropped out of the top five list globally last year, being pushed aside by Samsung of South Korea.
In terms of global sales, other Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo have since surpassed Huawei. Following a 50% drop in smartphone shipments in the first quarter of this year compared to last year, Huawei is now ranked seventh globally and third in China.
Huawei also sold its low-cost Honor smartphone brand in November to mitigate the impact of US sanctions.
Huawei’s HarmonyOS smartphone launch is a workaround for the company’s lack of access to Google services, particularly for phones sold outside of China. Huawei’s older devices will continue to run Google services despite the company’s blacklisting, but its newer devices will not have access to Google’s mobile services or updates.