Huawei's first devices to be based on its homegrown HarmonyOS will two TVs sold under its Honor sub-brand. The TVs also run a Huawei-developed SoC and one has a built-in camera.
Honor Vision TV
After the US blacklisted Huawei and Google suspended its Android license, Huawei announced that it has been working on its own operating system. Last week, the company revealed the first details about HarmonyOS - or Hongmeng in China.
The company has also announced the first devices to run HarmonyOS; two TVs under its sub-brand Honor. The Honor Vision and Honor Vision Pro will go on sale in China this week but no plans to bring them to international regions were announced.
Richard Yo, Huawei CEO, says that Huawei will prefer to continue using Android but that bans may force it to look at alternatives. HarmonyOS has been developed as a microkernel-based OS, like Google's Fuchsia, and can run on various devices ranging from TVs and smartphones to watches and speakers.
The Honor TVs are noteworthy for Huawei's technology rather than the display technology found inside. Besides HarmonyOS, the TVs are equipped with the company's Honghu 818 chip, which supports up to 4K120 and HDR. However, the TVs feature 4K IPS LCD panels with edge LED and 400 nits peak brightness. These are basic mid-range displays incapable of delivering HDR.
Huawei says that the 'Pro' version of the TV will feature more storage, more powerful speakers, and a pop-up camera that can be used for video calling. Major TV makers such as Samsung tried the same concept a few years ago but eventually backtracked and removed the camera due to privacy concerns.
TV as a testbed for aspiring OSs
TVs have become a sort of testbed for companies with aspiring operating systems. LG and Samsung both rejected Google's Android TV platform to launch TVs built on their own webOS and Tizen platforms.
Samsung had planned to also use Tizen in smartphones but it is limited to mainly TVs and watches right now. Panasonic and Mozilla launched Firefox OS in TVs with plans to bring it to other devices but Mozilla later abandoned the project. Firefox OS has since been rebranded to MyHomeScreen.
Like Samsung, Huawei is apparently hoping to get HarmonyOS off the ground by launching it first in TVs before bringing it to other product categories. Chinese competitors such as Xiaomi use mobile Android in TVs. OnePlus is also gearing up to launch an Android-based TV.
In China, the 55-inch Honor Vision TV will cost ¥3799 (~$540) while the Pro version will cost ¥4799 ~$680).