Huawei opens core tech to developers and hopes to inspire the next TikTok

It also laid out plans to see Google replacement HarmonyOS on smartphones from next year and a handful of new consumer devices.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor
Image: Huawei

Huawei has announced it will fully open core technologies, including its software and hardware capabilities, to developers and partners.

As part of this plan, Huawei will open software services, such as browsing, search, map, payment, advertising kits, and hardware capabilities, including AR map, communication and transmission tools, as well as security capabilities.

Huawei consumer business group CEO Richard Yu appealed to developers and partners to work with the company to "jointly build a fully-connected all-scenario intelligent ecosystem" featuring new apps across different categories.

"Developers can benefit from all the resources we have … we're dedicated to introducing Chinese developers' work to global consumers, hoping to see more TikTok in the future, so that we can take them to the overseas market," Yu said, speaking through a translator during his keynote speech at Huawei's Developer Conference 2020.

Read more: TikTok to sue US government over ban

"At the same time, Huawei has the ambition to help overseas developers to serve the Chinese consumers. We would like to be the bridge in between."

In making the announcement, Yu also unveiled the second iteration of its operating system HarmonyOS, which was launched back in 2019 and viewed as the company's replacement to Google's Android mobile operating system.

Features of what has been dubbed as HarmonyOS 2.0 include upgrades to the operating system's existing distributed capabilities including software bus, data management, and security.

The company touted HarmonyOS 2.0 would officially be open-source, so developers will have access to emulators, SDK packages, and IDE tools.

Yu outlined how the roadmap of its open-source project will be launched in stages, beginning with HarmonyOS 2.0 to open to 128KB-128MB IoT devices, such as smart TVs, wearables, and cars, followed by 128MB to 4GB devices in April 2021, and to devices above 4GB in October 2021.

The company added the mobile HarmonyOS 2.0 beta for smartphones would be released firstly to Chinese developers at the end of 2020, with hopes to see the OS in operation on smartphones from next year.

Alongside this, Huawei announced the release of EMUI 11 with "always-on" display options, an updated gallery app interface, improved multi-window support, plus enhanced privacy features.

During the keynote, Huawei also announced the EMUI 11 beta program would soon be available for P40 and Mate 30 devices, with intentions to extend the beta eligibility to Honor 30 and Nova 7 devices at a later date.

Additionally, the Chinese tech giant announced upgrades to its HiLink ecosystem will be made in five areas -- connection, interaction, solutions provider, and authentication -- which the company boasted would enable IoT devices from different brands and manufacturers to easily connect, and be seamlessly managed and controlled.

See also: Reuters alleges Huawei covered up ownership of Iranian affiliate

On the point of security, Yu assured how privacy and security have "always been the highest priority for Huawei".

"The TEE of HarmonyOS has received the highest security certification in the industry, which is common criteria EAL5+," he said.

"We have deployed 15 data centres around the world, with four-layer encryption to protect your privacy and data security. Huawei has been implementing a robust security mechanism to make sure that the app permission is properly is controlled and all of your data is secure with you."

Despite this promise, Huawei continues to be locked out from participating in building out 5G networks worldwide. The most recent was in Canada when local carriers Bell and Telus announced that each of them would not be continuing the use of Huawei equipment in their respective 5G networks.

In Australia, Huawei was banned from supplying 5G equipment, with the federal government stating its decision was based on national security. 

Although not officially banned, Huawei has not made inroads in New Zealand after GCSB prevented Spark from using Huawei kit in November 2018. 

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, although it in January decided to limit the involvement of Huawei -- restricting it to a 35% cap of all radio equipment and preventing the Chinese giant from supplying any equipment in the core of the network, as well as banning the use of Huawei equipment at sensitive locations such as nuclear sites and military bases -- reports last month said that the decision would be reviewed

The United States also put a ban on US companies from buying, installing, or using foreign-made telecommunications equipment, citing cyber-espionage fears. The ban effectively targeted Chinese equipment providers, like Huawei, although no names were mentioned in the executive order.  

Huawei adds six more to product range

Image: Huawei

During the event, Huawei also unveiled six new products: MateBook X, MateBook 14, Watch GT 2 Pro, Watch Fit, FreeBuds Pro, and FreeLace Pro.

Dubbed by Huawei as the "world's first" true wireless stereo (TWS) noise-cancelling earphones, the FreeBuds Pro can identify the type of ambient noise based on a user's immediate surrounding and switch its noise cancelling performance between three profiles: General, cosy, and ultimate.

Its FreeLace Pro, meanwhile, has been designed to support noise cancellation of up to 40dB, and features a pair of 14mm aluminium-magnesium alloy dynamic drivers with bass tubes.

Huawei also continues to expand its Watch collection with its new flagship smartwatch, Watch GT 2 Pro, that offers two weeks battery life and more than 100 workout modes, including skiing, snowboarding, and golf driving range.

There's also the company's first sports smartwatch, Watch Fit that has 24-hour heart monitoring to track blood oxygen, sleep, and stress conditions, and animated workout routines.

Huawei's latest to its PC product line is the MateBook X that features 3K infinite fullview display, powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core processor, has a touchpad 26% larger than previous generations, and supports Wi-Fi 6 for faster data transfer speed.

The company also unveiled its MateBook 14, which is integrated with the AMD Ryzen 4000 H Series processor and supports smart features including multi-screen collaboration.

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