Huawei officially announced its home-grown operating system HarmonyOS (HongmengOS in Chinese) at its developer conference, declaring it can be used on a variety of devices including smartphones, smartwatches and in-vehicle systems.

Richard Yu, CEO of the vendor’s Consumer Business Group (pictured), said the company’s objective was to develop an OS with improved cross-platform capabilties which can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security.

He said HarmonyOS is a distributed, microkernel-based operating system completely different than Android and iOS, noting “you can develop your apps once, then flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices”.

The company said the OS will first launch in China ahead of global deployments. To encourage adoption, Huawei said it will release the OS as an open-source platform worldwide.

Since the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a list of businesses barred from buying components and software from US companies, the vendor stepped-up its efforts to develop a replacement to Android.

Earlier in the week, Chinese media reported Huawei planned to release its first smartphone running an in-house OS in Q4 and was conducting compatibility tests with Android apps.

Outlining its roadmap for the OS and its kernel, the company said HarmonyOS 1.0 will be first adopted in smart screen products due to be launched this year. Over the next three years, it will be optimised and gradually used across a broader range of devices, including wearables.