Huawei has announced its latest flagship phones for the Chinese market, the P50 and P50 Pro. They’re the company’s first major phones to launch with HarmonyOS, the company’s own branded mobile operating system, which pairs with Huawei’s typically well-specced cameras and hardware that includes Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 processor in some models.
The launch of the P50 series has come a little later in the year than the P40 did in 2020, thanks to US sanctions which have seriously impacted Huawei’s ability to produce new phones and restricted its ability to buy chips and other components from companies using US tech. When he first teased the phones last month, Huawei’s consumer business CEO Richard Yu said that a launch date hadn’t been set at the time “for reasons you are all aware of.”
These sanctions mean that like other recent Huawei phones, the P50 series won’t include Google’s apps and services if it ever releases outside of China. In fact, according to Huawei, the P50 doesn’t run Android at all, thanks to its own HarmonyOS software. The extent to which HarmonyOS is actually distinct from Android is a point of some contention, however, following reports that it’s effectively a fork of Android’s open-source code.