When Huawei introduced HarmonyOS back in 2019, it wasn't meant to run on smartphones. But a lot has changed since then, and not just in the codebase. The US continues to toughen sanctions against the Chinese company, which is resulting in partners that are pulling away. At an event today, Huawei announced the next generation of HarmonyOS — and this time, it's going to run on phones.

HarmonyOS 2.0 is built to power seamless AI interactions across all scenarios, according to consumer business CEO Richard Yu, presenting on stage in Shenzhen. The company wants to create an immersive and interactive experience that's easy to use. Amidst international scrutiny for ties to the Chinese government, Huawei also emphasized that HarmonyOS 2.0 is a secure operating system.

In this evolution, the OS will be able to run on everything from TVs to smartwatches. Huawei is trying to make things as easy for developers as possible with an adaptive UX framework that lets individual apps run on multiple form factors without customizing the code for every platform. There's also going to be an open-source version of the OS called OpenHarmony, but it currently only supports devices with less than 128MB of RAM — support for more powerful devices will come later on.

A developer beta version of the new OS is available today for smart TVs, watches, and vehicle head units. We'll have to wait until later in the year to see how it runs on smartphones, as Huawei plans to unveil SDKs, documentation, tools, and simulators for phones in December.