Huawei Technologies Co Ltd unveiled long-awaited details of its HarmonyOS software, the operating system intended to take a central role in a consumer electronics market dominated by Google’s Android and Apple Inc’s iOS.

HarmonyOS has been designed to work across smartphones, appliances, and other hardware, combining the capabilities of all connected gadgets for what Huawei calls “super device” utility. The company demonstrated multi-device functionality as part of its HarmonyOS showcase and said it plans to build its new platform into a hub that connects a wide spectrum of hardware from earbuds to smart cars.

Huawei introduced a number of smartphones, smart watches, and tablets running the 2.0 version of the HarmonyOS at Wednesday’s (2 June) online event. The company said nearly 100 of its own devices will be able to upgrade to the latest system in China.

The Shenzhen-based telecom gear maker is looking to the so-called Internet of Things (IOT) as a path to competing with Apple and Alphabet Inc’s Google. Development of HarmonyOS dates back to 2016, but was accelerated after Washington blacklisted Huawei, cutting it off from essential mobile chipsets and key Google services. With Android and iOS already entrenched in their dominance over the smartphone landscape, Huawei’s aim is to be best at linking interconnected electronic devices and accessories.

The company reported a 17% decline in sales in the first three months of this year, the second straight quarterly drop after years of prodigious growth fuelled by its smartphone division. After sanctions hit, the company was forced to seek new cash cows from an array of emerging businesses including smart mining, renewable energy, and electric vehicles.

The Harmony project is Huawei’s big bet in the consumer market. Worldwide demand for smart home devices, such as smart speakers, video entertainment products, and smart locks, is expected to balloon in the coming years with China becoming the largest market before 2025, according to research firm IDC. Consumer enthusiasm for wearables is also gaining momentum, a separate IDC report showed.

User adoption in the early years will be a key gauge for the potential of HarmonyOS, as app developers and hardware vendors are typically reluctant to invest in an unproven new platform. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Tizen and Microsoft Corporation’s mobile OS efforts have both petered out as rivals to the big two after failing to get traction. – Bloomberg News.

On Wednesday, the Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 0.76% to 3,597.14 while the Hang Seng Index was 0.58% lower at 29,297.62.