Last week, Huawei launched HarmonyOS for laptops and smartphones in response to U.S. sanctions that ended Huawei’s ability to use Android in its devices. The 2019 sanctions cut off access to Android’s new features and security updates. Huawei customers also couldn’t download popular apps in the Google Play Store.
Analysts say Huawei’s HarmonyOS for smartphones and tablets is unlikely to succeed against Android and iOS without easy access to popular apps or a global sales channel.
Maxim Tamarov, News Writer
Published: 08 Jun 2021
Huawei’s new proprietary mobile operating system will struggle to gain share in the highly competitive smartphone and tablet market dominated by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, analysts said.
Analysts were skeptical that Huawei would succeed where Microsoft and Samsung failed. Both companies released mobile operating systems that couldn’t take significant market share from Android or Apple’s iOS for the iPhone and iPad.
“I’m going to bet that this will not be that successful,” Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen said of HarmonyOS.
HarmonyOS uses the same open source code base as Android, so it’s possible to run Android apps on the Huawei OS. However, without easy access to the apps on popular outlets like the Google store, it’s unlikely that people will make an effort to find apps elsewhere. Instead, they’ll buy an Android phone, Nguyen said.
IDC analyst Ryan Reith said Huawei has never developed a customer base outside of China as loyal as Apple’s and Samsung’s. So when the sanctions hit, Huawei’s customers moved on.
Since the sanctions, Huawei’s worldwide sales have declined steeply. According to Gartner, Huawei’s market share went from 15.6% in the first quarter of 2019 to 5.2% in the first quarter of 2021.
Also, Huawei lost its sales channel without Android. Reith said the company’s partnerships with retailers including BestBuy and AT&T vanished once it no longer had Android devices to sell.
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