Huawei Senior Vice President Vincent Yang spoke at a press conference in New York City yesterday (via CNET). During his presentation, he talked a bit about HarmonyOS, the company’s new software that could, in theory, replace Android on its smartphones.
However, Yang said there are no plans to launch a Huawei smartphone this year that runs HarmonyOS, hinting at an upcoming flagship device — presumably the Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro, which we expect in October. That means we can expect the next flagship Mate smartphone to run Android in either the form of Android 9 Pie or possibly even the upcoming Android 10.
In fact, Yang admitted that it is unlikely Huawei would ever push out a non-Android smartphone as the company’s intention is to “maintain one standard, one ecosystem.”
Yang did concede that, should Android be completely taken away from Huawei by the United States government’s policies, the company would have no choice but to switch to HarmonyOS as a “plan B.”
Meanwhile, the company will definitely be launching a HarmonyOS-powered television as well as a new smartwatch. The smartwatch could land sometime this year, possibly even as a companion product to the Huawei Mate 30 series.
Huawei plans to use Android on smartphones as long as possible and will only abandon it if there is no other choice.
Huawei being hesitant to abandon Android makes a lot of sense as moving to HarmonyOS would necessitate some serious growing pains. Although HarmonyOS supports running Android apps, the company would almost certainly lose access to many Google apps by making the switch, as HarmonyOS would not include the Google Play Store. If the U.S. government ban on Huawei goes so far as to prohibit it from using Android, Google wouldn’t even have the option of integrating the Play Store into HarmonyOS if it wanted to.
Therefore, we can expect Huawei to keep using Android until the very last minute, if that time ever comes.