Despite being significantly impacted by US sanctions, Huawei has been finding ways to adapt and stay relevant in the market. It’s still putting out smartphones with the best tech it can without relying on the US. A major challenge for its smartphone business has been the absence of Google services.

Battling the situation, Huawei developed its own HarmonyOS which doesn’t rely on Google services. The upcoming version of the operating system, HarmonyOS NEXT, will further distance itself from Google, including Android. Huawei has officially unveiled the OS at a conference in China.

HarmonyOS NEXT is Here, Without Android

Huawei Begins Testing Its Android-less HarmonyOS NEXT 5
Image: Gizmochina

Huawei recently held its annual developer conference, HDC 2024, in China, where it unveiled the beta version of HarmonyOS NEXT (via Gizmochina). This new operating system will bid farewell to both the Linux kernel and the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), making it completely independent. Instead, it will be composed of Huawei’s Hongmeng Kernel and will only support HarmonyOS native apps.

Huawei claims that HarmonyOS NEXT gets a 30% boost in overall machine performance with a 20% reduction in power consumption. Besides, it takes cross-device compatibility a notch above. Developers will only need to build a single version of an app, which will work on all devices running HarmonyOS NEXT, regardless of the screen size. The same was demonstrated at the conference with some popular Chinese apps.

Huawei Begins Testing Its Android-less HarmonyOS NEXT 6
Image: Gizmochina

The OS also gets a new App Continuation feature, allowing users to seamlessly switch apps between devices. Similarly, data sharing across devices is also supported. For instance, you can copy and paste an image from one device to another.

Harmony Intelligence Brings AI Features to The OS

Huawei Begins Testing Its Android-less HarmonyOS NEXT 7
Image: Gizmochina

HarmonyOS NEXT integrates a suite of AI-powered features directly into the system, under the umbrella of Harmony Intelligence. There’s AIGC (artificial intelligence-generated content) image generation, which lets you create images from hand-drawn line drawings, and color or enlarge photos. It also allows removing unwanted objects from an image.

Then, there’s an AI sound repair tool, which Huawei claims is an industry first. It enhances communication for people with speech impairments by making voices clearer and easier to understand, and can even convert another person’s voice to text. This feature is powered by Celia, Huawei’s global AI virtual assistant.

Next, the OS introduces the ‘Celia Sees the World’ feature, designed to assist visually impaired users by reading or describing content from images on their phones or from objects around them. The operating system also allows third-party apps to utilize on-device AI features such as image or text translation, face detection, smart form filling, and more.

Lastly, Huawei’s smart assistant has been upgraded to “Celia Intelligent Agent,” now powered by the company’s latest LLM, “Pangu Large Model 5.0.” Users can activate it without calling its name, and it can perform various AI-based functions.

Security is a Priority for Huawei’s New OS

Image: Peter Holden/TalkAndroid

Huawei will introduce the new “Star Shield security architecture” with HarmonyOS NEXT. Apps or codes that fail to meet Huawei’s security standards will be blocked from installation, and unnecessary app permissions will be restricted.

Furthermore, data across devices will be end-to-end encrypted for enhanced protection. The OS will also support hardware-level encryption, ensuring files are protected with unique keys stored in the device’s hardware.

Launch Timeline for HarmonyOS NEXT

Huawei Begins Testing Its Android-less HarmonyOS NEXT 8

HarmonyOS NEXT has entered its beta testing phase, with Huawei seeking a limited number of developers and users to participate. The commercial launch is anticipated in Q4 of this year. A previous report suggested the launch would happen in September, alongside Huawei’s Mate 70 lineup of smartphones, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Regardless, we are just some months away from meeting a brand-new smartphone operating system. It will also be made available to global users this time, unlike the current HarmonyOS. Huawei has big plans for HarmonyOS NEXT, and it will be exciting to see how it takes on Android and iOS.

Hinshal is a tech journalist with over five years of experience. Before joining Talk Android, he has worked with several other popular publications like Digital Trends and Android Police. He can talk about tech all day, but he has to spare some time to write about it too. He also loves anime, video games, and photography.

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The post Huawei Begins Testing Its Android-less HarmonyOS NEXT – Talk Android first appeared on

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