(Redirected from Harmony OS)

HarmonyOS (HMOS) (Chinese: 鸿蒙; pinyin: Hóngméng) is a distributed operating system developed by Huawei to collaborate and interconnect with multiple smart devices on the Internet of Things ecosystem.[9][10] In its current multi-kernel design, the operating system selects suitable kernels from the abstraction layer for devices with diverse resources.[10][11][12] For IoT devices, the system is known to be based on LiteOS kernel; while for smartphones and tablets, it is based on a Linux kernel layer with AOSP libraries to support legacy APK apps, in addition to native HarmonyOS HAP apps via the ARK Compiler.[13][14]

HMOS Logo Icon.svg
HarmonyOS 3.0 running on an Huawei P40 Pro
Written inC, C++, Java(until HMOS 3.0), JS, eTS and Cangjie[1]
OS familyUnix-like
Working stateCurrent
Initial releaseAugust 9, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-08-09)
Latest release3.0.0.76 (SP7DEVC786E76R7P3)[2] / (July 27, 2022; 2 months ago (2022-07-27))[3]
Latest preview3.0.0.111 Beta (C00E110R8P9) / (August 28, 2022; 38 days ago (2022-08-28))[4]
Marketing targetInternet of Things, wireless routers, smartphones, tablet computers, smart TVs, smartwatches, smart speakers, personal computers, mixed reality headsets, virtual reality headsets, Wireless earbuds, Wireless Headphones, wearable devices, augmented reality headsets, Smart Printers, cars, smart homes, enterprise, industry, aerospace
Available in76 languages
Update methodOver-the-air
Package manager.app on HAP[5] and APK-based (Ark Compiler)
Platforms64-bit ARM, RISC-V, x86, x64 and LoongArch[6]
Kernel typeMulti-kernel design (Linux kernel, HarmonyOS microkernel, or LiteOS)[7]
UserlandSystem Service Layer[8]
user interface
EMUI/Emotion UI (multi-touch, GUI)
LicenseProprietary software except for open-source components
Preceded byLiteOS, EMUI and Android
Official websitewww.harmonyos.com/en/
Support status
Articles in the series
HarmonyOS version history
Simplified Chinese鸿蒙
Traditional Chinese鴻蒙

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.[15][16][17] 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.[18][19][20]

HarmonyOS was first used in Honor smart TVs in August 2019[21] and later used in Huawei smartphones, tablets and smartwatches in June 2021.[22]



Reports surrounding an in-house operating system being developed by Huawei date back as far as 2012.[23][24] 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.[25][26][27][28][29] Huawei executive Richard Yu [zh] 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.[30][31][32]

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.[33]

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.[34][35] On 24 May 2019, Huawei registered "Hongmeng" as a trademark in China.[36] The name "Hongmeng" (Chinese: 鸿蒙; lit. 'Vast Mist') came from Chinese mythology that symbolizes primordial chaos or the world before creation.[37] The same day, Huawei registered trademarks surrounding "Ark OS" and variants with the European Union Intellectual Property Office.[38] 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.[39]


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.[40][41]

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.[42] 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.[43][44]

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.[45][46][47]

On July 27, 2022, Huawei launched HarmonyOS 3 providing an improved experience across multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets, printers, cars and TVs. It also launched Petal Chuxing, a ride-hailing app running on the new version of the operating system.[48][49][50][51]


HarmonyOS appsEdit

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, which is equivalent to Android App Bundle (suffixed with .abb) on Android platforms, contains one or more HarmonyOS Ability Package (HAP) files and a pack.info file.[52]

The AppGallery allows users to download and install Android apps in .apk and .abb file formats that are compatible with HarmonyOS, and apps that are specifically designed for HarmonyOS in an App pack.[53] For general differentiation, some HarmonyOS apps are marked with an "HMOS" subscript on the app icon,[54] 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.[55][56]

As claimed in August 2019 by Richard Yu Chengdong, CEO of the Consumer Business Group for Huawei, it will only take one or two days for developers to port Android apps to HarmonyOS apps. Compared to the Android ecosystem, the ported apps are reportedly to run faster on HarmonyOS using the ARK Compiler instead of an interpreter.[57]

HarmonyOS 2 Atomic Service Center feature in Chinese markets.

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 specifically for native HarmonyOS apps, not Android apps, based on the design of the operating system.[58][59]

Quick appsEdit

Available in the quick apps section of AppGallery, quick apps are installation-free and can be opened with a single tap on the screen and added as home screen icons for access by users.[60]

Having about one-fifth code of their Android native apps, quick apps require little storage space and consume less memory resources to provide users with instant access to services and content, which are web-based and can be updated automatically.[61][62]

A quick app may contain multiple cards, and one card maps only a single page.[63] It is developed using JavaScript and CSS based on the industry standards formulated by the Quick App Alliance, comprising mainstream mobile phone manufacturers in China.[64]

Atomic ServicesEdit

In addition to quick apps, HarmonyOS also supports installation-free lightweight apps, namely Atomic Services, to provide specific functions.[65] Each service is packaged within the maximum size of 10 MB to allow users to obtain dynamic information, such as weather information, key event notes, breaking news, goods browsing, shopping cart and payment.[66][67][68]

When an Atomic Service is added automatically by the application framework in the background, no icon is generated on the home screen but users can manually add a service widget card.[69]

Managed and distributed by Huawei Ability Gallery, Atomic Services support cross-device collaboration and can be discovered by users in the Service Center of HarmonyOS.[70][71]

Super DeviceEdit

HarmonyOS integrates various smart devices into a Super Device,[72] which is a software system to link the compatible products for wireless connection and back-and-forth interaction. On a radar screen, the Super Device shows floating icons each representing a device, allowing users to drag a nearby icon to the center icon to pair the devices. The paired devices are then allowed for cross-device collaboration and resource sharing.[73][74][75]

Examples of Super Device features include allowing users to play back media saved inside a smartphone through a paired PC, smart TV or speakers; share PC screen recordings back to a smartphone; run multiple phone apps in a PC window; share files between a paired smartphone and PC; share application states between the paired devices, etc.[76][77][78]


Smart folderEdit

HarmonyOS supports large folders that are maximized to provide quick access to app shortcuts more directly, without needing a tap first on the folder before accessing the app icons, like what is needed for a standard folder. To create a smart folder, users are required to create a standard folder by dragging and dropping an app on another, tap and hold that folder, then enlarge it from the popup menu.[79]

HarmonyOS 3 provides more size options for smart folders, adding different sizes such as 1*2, 2*4, 2*1, etc., adjustable by users with long-pressing and pulling the edge of the folder.[80]

App snippetEdit

App snippets allow users to preview and access common app services and features by swiping up an app icon on the home screen, without having to open the apps themselves. For example, a weather snippet takes users to the weather forecast right away, while a music snippet allows users to control playback of music.

When expanded, the app snippets can be pinned or removed from the home screen. Apps supporting the snippets have an option to show a short bar at the bottom of the app icon.[81]


A card, which is interactive, displays the services or content to users and can be embedded in various apps.[82] Cards for quick apps, atomic services and app snippets can be combined and stacked up by users on the home screen. When a stack of cards is opened, the cards are presented in the form of waterfall flow, allowing users to swipe up and down for viewing, edit and re-order the card sequence.[83]

HarmonyOS 3 allows users to adjust the shape, color, stickers, text and other elements of commonly used cards.[84]

System fontEdit

The official font of HarmonyOS is HarmonyOS Sans. It is designed to be easy to read, unique, and universal. The system font is used throughout the operating system alongside its Android-based EMUI 12 counterpart, including third-party HarmonyOS and Android apps.[85]


HarmonyOS platform was not designed for a single device at the beginning but developed as a distributed operating system for various devices with memory sizes ranging from 128KB to over 4GB. Hence, the hardware requirements are flexible for the operating system and it may only need 128KB of memory for a variety of smart terminal devices.[86][87]


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.[88][41] 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.[89] HarmonyOS 2.0 was released for smartphones and tablets as updates for the P40 and Mate X2 in June 2021. New Huawei Watch, MatePad Pro and PixLab X1 desktop printer models shipping with HarmonyOS were also unveiled.[46][47][90] As of October, 2021, HarmonyOS 2.0 has over 150 million users.[91][92]


The primary IDE known as DevEco Studio for developing HarmonyOS apps was released by Huawei on September 9, 2020, based on IntelliJ IDEA and Huawei's SmartAssist.[93] The IDE includes DevEco Device Tool,[94] an integrated one-stop device development tool for customizing HarmonyOS components, coding, compiling and visual debugging, similar to other third party IDEs such as Visual Studio Code for Windows, Linux and macOS.[95]

Applications for HarmonyOS are mostly built using components of ArkUI, a Declarative User Interface framework. ArkUI elements are adaptable to various devices and include new interface rules with automatic updates along with HarmonyOS updates.[96]

HarmonyOS as a universal single IoT platform allows developers to write apps once and run everywhere across devices such as phones, tablets, personal computers, TVs, cars, smartwatches, single board computers under OpenHarmony, and screen-less IoT devices such as smart speakers.[97]

As of June 2021, there were reportedly around 500,000 developers participated in developing HarmonyOS apps.[98]

HarmonyOS ecosystemEdit

HarmonyOS ConnectEdit

On May 18, 2021, Huawei revealed a plan to upgrade its HarmonyOS Connect brand with a standard badge during a summit in Shanghai to help industrial partners in producing, selling and operating products with third-party OEMs.

Allowing for fast and low-cost connections to users, smart devices like speakers, fridges and cookers of different brands powered by HarmonyOS can be connected and merged into a super device with a single touch of smartphone without the need to install apps.

HarmonyOS powered smartphone, tablet devices connected with HarmonyOS powered smart devices via HarmonyOS Connect.

The HarmonyOS Connect sets the platform apart from traditional mobile and computing platforms and the company's previous ecosystem attempts with its Android based EMUI and LiteOS connectivity in the past.[99]

HarmonyOS CockpitEdit

On April 27, 2021, Huawei launched a smart cockpit solution powered by HarmonyOS for electric and autonomous cars powered by its Kirin line of a system-on-chip (SoC) solution. Huawei opened up APIs to help automobile OEMs, suppliers and ecosystem partners in developing features to meet user requirements.

Huawei designed a modular SoC for cars that will be pluggable and easy to upgrade to maintain the peak performance of the cockpit. Users would be able to upgrade the chipset as one can upgrade on an assembled desktop computer with its scalable distributed OS.[100]

HarmonyOS powered Cockpit UI for automobile OEMs.

On December 21, 2021, Huawei launched a new smart console brand, HarmonySpace, a specialized HarmonyOS vehicle operating system. Based on Huawei's 1+8 ecology, apps on smartphones and tablets can be connected to the car seamlessly with HarmonySpace, which also provides smartphone projection capability.[101][102]

On December 23, 2021, Huawei announced a new smart select car product – AITO M5, a medium-size SUV with HarmonyOS ecosystem through continuous AI learning optimization and over-the-air upgrades.[103] On July 4, 2022, Huawei officially launched AITO smart select car product to be shipped to customers sometime in August 2022. During the launch, the company received 10,000 pre-orders in 2 hours for its M7 model.[104]

HarmonyOS powered Huawei backed AITO brand M7 and M5 cars.

MineHarmony OSEdit

On September 14, 2021, Huawei announced the launch of MineHarmony OS, a customized operating system by Huawei based on its in-house HarmonyOS for industrial use. MineHarmony is compatible with about 400 types of underground coal mining equipment, providing the equipment with a single interface to transmit and collect data for analysis. Wang Chenglu, President of Huawei’s consumer business AI and smart full-scenario business department, indicated that the launch of MineHarmony OS signified that the HarmonyOS ecology had taken a step further from B2C to B2B.[105][106][107]

Relationship with OpenEulerEdit

In terms of architecture, HarmonyOS has close relationship with OpenEuler, a community edition of EulerOS developed by Huawei, as they have inherited the sharing of kernel technology. The sharing is reportedly to be strengthened in the future in the areas of the distributed software bus, system security, device driver framework and new programming language.[108]

Relationship with OpenHarmony, Linux and LiteOSEdit

OpenHarmony is an open-source version of HarmonyOS donated by Huawei to the OpenAtom Foundation [zh]. It supports devices running a mini system such as printers, speakers, smartwatches and any other smart device with memory as small as 128 KB, or running a standard system with memory greater than 128 MB.[109] The open-source operating system contains the basic capabilities of HarmonyOS and does not depend on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).[110]

Conversely, HarmonyOS runs on Huawei's proprietary microkernel architecture and has used bits of AOSP codes from EMUI with the Linux kernel subsystem in smartphones to enable the operating system to run APK apps with the widgets for compatibility without root support just as with older Huawei EMUI-based smartphones. In addition, the OS supports native HarmonyOS apps on devices with Huawei Mobile Services via ARK Compiler.[111]

Using a multi-kernel design, HarmonyOS selects appropriate OS kernels for devices with various resource limitations. It uses the LiteOS kernel instead of the Linux kernel on low-powered devices such as smartwatches and IoT devices.[112][113]



Speculations of Huawei's developer tools by Ars Technica, HarmonyOS running on smartphones was rumored as a "rebranded version of Android and EMUI" with nearly "identical code bases".[114] 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 alleged 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 built based on JetBrains open source IntelliJ IDEA IDE "shared components and tool chains" with Android Studio.[44][115]

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 app reaffirming earlier rumor mills.[116][47]

Initially, Huawei stated that HarmonyOS was a microkernel-based, distributed OS that was completely different from Android and iOS.[117] 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.[116][47]

Market shareEdit

On December 23, 2021, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group claimed that HarmonyOS had reached 300 million devices, including 200 million devices in the ecosystem and 100 million third-party consumer products from industry partners.[118]

A market research conducted in China from Strategy Analytics showed that Harmony OS was the third largest smartphone platform after Apple iOS and Google Android as it reached a record high of 4% market share in China during Q1 of 2022, up from zero just a year ago, since the launch of the operating system for smartphones in June 2021. HarmonyOS was reported to be the fastest growing smartphone operating system in China, which remains the world's largest smartphone market.[119] The research claimed that the platform during Q1 2022 outgrew rivals, such as Android and Apple iOS, from a low install base of about 150 million users due to strong software upgrade and local support from Huawei on its older handset models and its former sub-brand such as Honor.[120][121]

On August 8, 2022 after the soft launch of HarmonyOS 3, it has been reported by Sina Finance in China and Huawei Central that the number of Huawei HarmonyOS Connect devices has exceeded 470 million units. 14 OpenHarmony distributions have been launched so far. [122]

Legal issuesEdit

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.[123]

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.[124][125]

However, it was reported that the trademark had officially been transferred from Huizhou Qibei Technology to Huawei by end of May 2021.[126]

See alsoEdit


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