Huawei’s in-house developed multi-device operating system – HarmonyOS – is expected to enter the market this year and attain around 2% global market share in 2020.
Neil Shah, Research Director for Devices and Ecosystems at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, told TechRadar Middle East, that most of the growth is expected from smartphone sales in China.
“Our assumption is that Huawei will launch one or two devices running on HarmonyOS in China this year and that should drive some volume. Next year, the company is likely to launch three or more devices,” he said.
This year, he said that HarmonyOS is expected to have 0.1% market share in the fourth quarter of this year and will reach a high of 5% in China in the fourth quarter of next year. Overall for this year, he said that HarmonyOS will have 0.03% of Huawei’s total shipments.
“Huawei does not want to upset Google but they should proliferate the Chinese market with HarmonyOS smartphones in the next three to four years,” he said.
Moreover, he said that there is also scope for Samsung and LG, whose market shares are less than 1% in China, to adopt HarmonyOS to grow its market share in China. Launching smartphones in China with HarmonyOS has a bigger scope for scale as there is no Android’s Google Mobile Service in China and Huawei is using its cloud services.
Other Chinese brands to follow
According to market rumours, Mate 30 Lite is expected to be launched in China with HarmonyOS. Shah had told TechRadar Middle East recently that HarmonyOS has the potential to become the ‘national OS’ of China in a bid to become less reliant on Google and Microsoft.
If the government pushed other big Chinese brands such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi to develop not only smartphones but also other products such as TVs, he said then HarmonyOS can scale across and it will become more attractive for developers to develop apps.
Chinese brands hold more than 40% of the smartphone market share globally.
According to Counterpoint, Huawei had 15.8%, Xiaomi had 9%, Oppo had 8.1%, Vivo had 7.5%, Lenovo had 2.6% and Realme had 1.3% as of second quarter this year.
Shah said that HarmonyOS is quite disruptive for the China market and by looking at the architecture; it is quite flexible as it is based on a microkernel and it has opened the platform for its competitors.
When the time is right and Huawei has more developers developing apps for Harmony OS, Shah said that developers can take full advantage of the scalability of the microkernel architecture.
Huawei is the biggest player in China in terms of mobile devices and the internet of things devices.
“Huawei has in the next three to four years to build a robust OS in the Chinese market and make sure it is mature enough to go on an offensive and make Honor to launch products running on HarmonyOS and flood the market with different products running on Harmony OS,” he said.
Samsung did a similar thing in the past. Samsung had used Tizen for low-end smartphones but that did not take off and the Korean vendor now uses it for smartwatches, TVs and other white goods.
Huawei already has a growing wearable, IoT and automotive business, all of which could be powered by Harmony OS. In the next five years, he said that TVs, smartwatches, smartphones and tablets will see higher proliferation and then in in-car infotainment and electric vehicles.
China’s BYD is the biggest electric car manufacturer in the world and they may also form an alliance with Huawei.