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Technology

Huawei to launch new mobile operating system in fight for survival

  • It became one of the world's three leading mobile phone manufacturers along with Samsung and Apple - briefly occupying the number one spot last year - driven by Chinese demand and sales in emerging markets.
Published June 2, 2021
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SHENZHEN: Embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei will launch a homegrown new mobile operating system on Wednesday as it fights for survival in the smartphone arena after the United States blocked it from using Android.

Huawei will unveil its first mobile devices loaded with the new Harmony OS in an online event broadcast from its headquarters in the southern city of Shenzhen beginning at 8 pm (1200 GMT).

The development of Harmony OS has been closely watched by the tech world since Donald Trump's White House in 2018 began an aggressive campaign to short-circuit the global ambitions of Huawei, which Washington considers a potential Chinese espionage and cybersecurity threat.

Aside from the geopolitics, no company has successfully taken on the mobile OS duopoly now dominated by Google's Android and Apple's iOS systems, a battleground littered with the likes of flame-outs including Blackberry, Microsoft's Windows Phone and the Amazon Fire device.

Analysts say Huawei likewise faces a tough battle to carve out a sizeable share of the OS pie.

The world's largest supplier of telecom base station equipment and other networking gear, Huawei entered the handset business in 2003, using Android.

It became one of the world's three leading mobile phone manufacturers along with Samsung and Apple - briefly occupying the number one spot last year - driven by Chinese demand and sales in emerging markets.

But the US sanctions, which include cutting the firm off from global component supply chains, have thrown its mobile phone segment into uncertainty.

Analysts say Huawei's most immediate challenge is in apps -- convincing enough developers to reprogramme their applications and other content to work with Harmony OS so that consumers will continue to buy Huawei phones.

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