By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor
Device maker, Huawei, at its Developer Conference recently, in China, introduced a new microkernel-based, distributed operating system. HarmonyOS.
The new OS is designed to deliver a cohesive and intelligent user experience across all devices and scenarios.
Introducing the new OS, Huawei’s CEO Consumer Business Group, Richard Yu, said: “We’re entering a day and age where people expect a holistic intelligent experience across all devices and scenarios. To support this, we felt it was important to have an operating system with improved cross-platform capabilities.
“We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms, and that can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security. These were our goals with HarmonyOS.
“HarmonyOS is completely different from Android and iOS. It is a microkernel-based, distributed OS that delivers a smooth experience across all scenarios. It has trustworthy and secure architecture, and it supports seamless collaboration across devices. You can develop your apps once, and flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices,” he added.
Yu added that traditionally, new operating systems are released alongside new types of devices and as early as 10 years ago, Huawei envisioned a future where intelligence would seamlessly integrate with all aspects of people’s lives, and began exploring how it might deliver an experience that would transcend the boundaries of physical space and span different hardware and platforms.
He averred that HarmonyOS is that experience, being a lightweight, compact operating system with powerful functionality.
The OS will first be used for smart devices like smart watches, smart screens, in-vehicle systems, and smart speakers. Through this implementation Huawei aims to establish an integrated and shared ecosystem across devices, create a secure and reliable runtime environment, and deliver a holistic intelligent experience across every interaction with every device.
Being an all-scenario and intelligent experience, the new OS was designed to set a high bar for connectivity. It has four distinct technical features to deliver on its promise to consumers.
It is touted to be the first-ever device OS with distributed architecture, delivering a seamless experience across devices. By adopting distributed architecture and distributed virtual bus technology, HarmonyOS offers a shared communications platform, distributed data management, distributed task scheduling, and virtual peripherals. With HarmonyOS, app developers won’t have to deal with the underlying technology for distributed apps, allowing them to focus on their own individual service logic.
HarmonyOS will address underperformance challenges with a deterministic latency engine and high-performance Inter Process Communication (IPC). This feature sets task execution priorities and time limits for scheduling in advance. Resources will gravitate toward tasks with higher priorities, reducing the response latency of apps by 25.7%. The microkernel can make IPC performance up to five times more efficient than existing systems.
As a Microkernel architecture that reshapes security and trustworthiness from the ground up, HarmonyOS enhances security and low latency. This microkernel was designed to simplify kernel functions, implement as many system services as possible in user mode outside the kernel, and add mutual security protection. The microkernel itself provides only the most basic services like thread scheduling and IPC.
This feature allows apps to be developed once and deployed across multiple devices. Powered by a multi-device IDE, multi-language unified compilation, and a distributed architecture kit, HarmonyOS can automatically adapt to different screen layout controls and interactions, and support both drag-and-drop control and preview-oriented visual programming. This allows developers to more efficiently build apps that run on multiple devices. With a multi-device IDE, developers can code their apps once and deploy them across multiple devices, creating a tightly integrated ecosystem across all user devices.
Huawei has also announced that HarmonyOS 1.0 will be first adopted in its smart screen products, which are due to launch later this year. Over the next three years, HarmonyOS will be optimized and gradually adopted across a broader range of smart devices, including wearables, HUAWEI Vision, and head units for cars.