Huawei P50 series could mark the phone debut of Huawei's Android alternative

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While the Huawei ban stopped the company from using Google's apps, the Chinese company has still been allowed to use Google's Android operating system on its smartphones, but this always seemed a temporary measure. In late 2019 Huawei unveiled HarmonyOS, its own operating system to replace Android, but up until now we've only seen it on devices such as smartwatches and TVs, and not on phones.

Now it seems that the Huawei P50 flagship phone series could finally see the debut of HarmonyOS on smartphones (not counting a few betas that rolled out when the Huawei Mate X2 was launched in February).

This new comes via a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo by a publication called Fast Technology, as shared by Gizchina . Translated, it says that "the P50 will not be the first mobile phone to use Hongmeng [the name of HarmonyOS in China] but it will be the first to be pre-installed at the factory [sic]".

So this seems to suggest that although certain phones can run HarmonyOS in beta form now, the upcoming Huawei P50 will be the first handset you can buy that has it pre-installed, possibly as the only operating system option.

Since the Huawei ban was imposed in 2019 there's been lots of anticipation surrounding HarmonyOS, and we're intrigued to see how it runs on a smartphone. Let's wait to see if this leak is accurate before getting too excited, though.

Huawei P50 screen protector

At the same time the Huawei P50 operating system information was shared, a picture of its Pro sibling's screen protector was leaked, as spotted by MyFixGuide.

Screen protector leaks can often give us an early indication as to what the display of an upcoming smartphone will look like, but in this case, other than the fact its screen will curve at the edges, we can't tell much from the pictures.

The curve seems very slight, suggesting that the Huawei P50 Pro won't have a dramatic waterfall display like the Mate 40 Pro. There's no visible hole for the front-facing camera, though that likely just means the protector will cover the lens.

So we can't tell much about the Huawei P50 Pro from this leak, but at the very least it makes it seem more likely the phone will be landing soon.

The Huawei P50 series is expected to launch in the first half of 2021, so stay tuned for more information in the run-up to the big unveiling (and during and after the event too, of course).

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.