HDC 2021: Huawei provides updates on HarmonyOS, HMS Core 6, and more

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During this year’s Huawei Developer Conference (HDC 2021), the tech giant took the opportunity to provide key updates on HarmonyOS, HMS Core 6, and more.

The theme of the event was “Together” and was used in regards to both the community and technologies that Huawei is building around its ecosystem.

In this article, we’ll recap some big announcements and interesting tech sessions from this year’s event.

HarmonyOS 3.0

Huawei’s open source in-house operating system, HarmonyOS, intends to bring historically separate devices together. In the Internet of Things-era, it’s a powerful idea.

“Every rapid technological progress is driven by openness,” said Richard Yu, Executive Director, CEO of the Consumer Business Group, CEO of the Intelligent Automotive Solution BU Huawei. “We have contributed all HarmonyOS basic capabilities to the OpenAtom Foundation, forming the OpenHarmony open-source project.”

HarmonyOS now powers over 150 million devices including smartphones, tablets, wearables, HUAWEI Vision, and other devices.

“The HarmonyOS ecosystem has taken an initial shape over the last three years,” added Richard Yu. “We welcome more developers and partners to join us and tap into the unprecedented benefits of the smart, all-connected era.”

During the HDC 2021 opening keynote, a developer preview of HarmonyOS 3.0 was released. A developer beta is expected to follow in Q1 2022.

HarmonyOS 3.0 brings with it a new and visual automated elastic deployment tool that enables device developers to tailor HarmonyOS components in a modular manner to create an OS tailored for their hardware.

Heterogeneous networking technology in HarmonyOS 3.0 also enables the distributed system to support more diverse and higher-performing devices.

Further notable additions include the Harmony Design System, ArkUI 3.0, ArkCompiler 3.0, DevEco Studio 3.0, and HarmonyOS development suite.

HarmonyOS Connect intends to help hardware partners deploy a ‘Super Device’ that works alongside other hardware with seamless connections, service widgets, simplified interaction, and hardware assistance. Huawei says that more than 4000 products from over 1,800 vendors have received HarmonyOS Connect certification. In 2021, shipments of HarmonyOS Connect devices exceeded 60 million.

To further advance the HarmonyOS ecosystem, Huawei has partnered with 17 universities in China and its Shining Star Program has offered incentives to more than 10,000 apps for the platform.

HMS Core 6

At the core of Huawei’s software development ecosystem is HMS Core. The ecosystem now boasts 5.1 million developers worldwide and HMS has been integrated in more than 173,000 apps.

This adoption has contributed to the success of Huawei’s app store, AppGallery. The store has distributed 332.2 billion apps in the first three quarters of 2021 and increased developers’ revenue by 62 percent.

HMS Core 6 was announced during the opening keynote and now consists of 69 ‘kits’ and 21,738 APIs across seven domains, including 13 kits for cross-OS capabilities.

This year’s conference was live-streamed with a virtual AI-powered avatar that provided sign language throughout, which it turns out was a fantastic demonstration of two powerful kits.

The SignPal Kit was used to convert text into natural sign language, with a claimed accuracy of over 90 percent. The 3D Modeling Kit was used to generate a 3D model – with different textures – in just minutes using multi-angle images shot with a standard smartphone.

Other new services debuting in HMS Core 6 include solutions for audio & video editing, copyright protection, and e-CNY payment.

Huawei also officially launched its MacroVerse Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) for its global developers. The solution aims to make it easy for developers to access search cloud services, network cloud services, Cyberverse cloud services, and development cloud services, by “modularising” the experience.

Tech Sessions

Huawei held dozens of tech sessions over the event – so it’s well worth taking a look for what might interest you – but we’ll give a brief rundown of a couple for just a little appetiser.

In a gaming session led by Alexandre Salem, Global Director, Global Partnerships & Eco-Development Business Department, Huawei Consumer Business Group, developers learned more about the lucrative industry – of which mobile gaming is the fastest-growing segment within that, accounting for 48% of all revenue in 2020 – and how they can get their share of the pie with help from Huawei’s ecosystem.

Mobile game development giant Gameloft benefitted from a 70 percent increase in downloads in the first three months after launching 11 games in AppGallery. Another studio, Playrix, received full end-to-end support from Huawei – including with the implementation of HMS Core Kits and marketing through Huawei Ads – for a series of successful launches worldwide.

Another interesting session focused on finance. Australian futurist Brett King joined Siri Børsum, Global VP Finance Vertical Eco-development & Partnerships at Huawei Consumer Business Group, to discuss the importance of improving the access to financial services for all individuals and businesses.

The pair reflected on how Open Banking can be a possible solution and Børsum shared the examples of AppGallery partners Noffe and Bluecode that are leveraging Huawei’s technologies and developer support to create more convenient services while ensuring safety and protecting user privacy.

HDC 2021 took place from 22-24 October but all sessions are still available for viewing here.

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