In mid-2019, Huawei launched its own operating system — HarmonyOS — in response to U.S. actions that cut it off from Google software.
It was the Chinese technology giant’s most ambitious mobile software push, one it hoped would help its handset business to survive.
This week, Huawei announced that HarmonyOS would begin rolling out on its smartphones from April and Huawei phone users would be able to download it as an update.
A spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that users outside of China would also be able to download it.
The company’s new foldable Mate X2 device, launched on Monday, would be one of the first to get HarmonyOS with other handsets to follow.
In 2019, Huawei was put on a U.S. blacklist known as the Entity List which restricted American firms from exporting technology to the Chinese company. Google cut ties with Huawei as a result. That meant Huawei could not use licensed Google Android on its smartphones. That’s not a big deal in China where Google apps such as Gmail are blocked. But in overseas markets, where Android is the most popular operating system, it was a big blow.
That move by the Trump administration combined with sanctions designed to cut Huawei off from critical chip supplies, has hurt the Chinese telecommunication firm’s smartphone sales.