Huawei's HONOR launches New Smart TV with Harmony Operating System

Pop-Up Camera | Face Recognition | New features | Release date | Price | and More...
Huawei Honor Smart TV
Updated: 20th Dec 2019
Published: 1st Sep 2019
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By Ricky Harewood

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Huawei has recently launched its new Harmony OS on a pair of Honor Smart TVs, one of which comes with a pop-up camera.

Until now, pop-up cameras have been the domain of smartphones and had yet to make a debut on TVs and laptops. But through its Honor sub-brand, Huawei is taking strides into new territories and making waves while at it.

Huawei’s New Operating System

The company recently unveiled the Harmony OS, or Hongmeng in Chinese, which it says was envisioned over a decade ago. At the time, the company claims it was thinking of a world interconnected in all aspects.

Interestingly, the launch of the new OS comes following their recent ban in America after they were added to the  US Bureau of Industry and Security’s ‘Entity list.

Being on the list potentially means a restriction on using American products such as the Android operating system from Google and Microsoft’s Windows OS.

The launch of its OS has been perceived as an attempt to decrease reliance on these products and as proof that they are prepared for any eventuality.

Huawei eventually plans to use Harmony OS on a variety of products including tablets, wearables and PCs. However, for now, it says its focus is on the smart TV market.

Harmony OS, like Google’s Fuchsia OS is an operating system based on microkernel principles. It can also run on multiple devices including car kits, smartwatches, TVs, smart displays and smartphones.

But even though the OS is reportedly ready for use on smartphones, Huawei says it plans to keep using Android for now.

The Buildup to Launch

Prior to the launch, the company had let on a number of clues to complete the puzzle of the upcoming release.

CEO confirms ‘Smart Screens’ Launch

During the launch of the Mate 20 X 5G, Huawei also held a Shenzhen press conference which it launched an ultra-large7.2” flagship device for the Chinese market.

At the time, Reuters quoted the CEO, Richard Yu, saying that "[Huawei] would unveil TV-like products called 'Smart Screens' next month, which will be the first products based on its proprietary Hongmeng Operating System".

About the Hongmeng OS

When the US added Huawei to the list, rumours sprang up that the company already had a replacement OS for Android.

But Huawei founder, Ren Zhengfei, dispelled the rumour saying, “It’s not designed for phones as everyone thinks.”

Taking that statement together with the CEO’s mention of an upcoming smart screen cleared matters up. The Hongmeng OS was all about creating a smart home ecosystem.

Honor Vision Announcement at GMIC Asia

At the GMIC, Asia’s largest tech conference, Honor announced the Honor Vision TV and said more details would be available on August 9. Notably, August 9 would also see the start of the Huawei Developer Conference.

That was an important clue as Honor and Huawei operate on a dual-brand strategy. Huawei is the parent company but often, both Honor and Huawei echo the same products targeting slightly different markets.

Note that Honor Vision is powered by Baidu’s chipset, Honghu 818, designed for smart home IoT applications and not Hongmeng.

The chip would aid in the TV’s performance and also improve its colour accuracy. It would also come in handy for high dynamic range imaging (HDR), automatic colour management (ACM), dynamic contrast enhancement (DCI), noise reduction (NR) and super-segmentation.

Pop-Up Camera Announcement

Honor also announced the upcoming launch of a pop-up camera for large screens during the same event in Asia. This suggested that cameras for smart apps would also be featured in smart TVs.

Some of the features that this pop-up camera would support were said to include face recognition and high-quality video calling.

Smart TVs: A New Trend for Smartphone Companies

Launching a smart TV as the very first product using the new OS isn’t that unusual as a number of smartphone companies are already making a foray into the TV sector.

OnePlus has been teasing an upcoming TV while Xiaomi has already launched its incredibly priced television models.

But Huawei is setting itself apart, not just with its pop-up camera but by not using Android OS like its competitors.

Features of the New Smart TV

With regards to hardware, the TVs have an octa-core processor, a 55-inch display with 4K and are capable of being used as smart home hubs.

On the Honor smart TV, users will get Honor Magic, which will make it possible to link the TV to the phone and use the phone to control it.

In addition to smartphone control, the TV will show weather information and have the capacity to support package tracking.

Users can also cast the phone to the TV screen using Miracast or DLNA standards. Having low latency means it will be possible to have screen share gaming from phone to TV.

HuaweiShare is yet another feature on the TV which will make it possible to share a file of up to 600MB within only 20 seconds.

Other interesting features include a built-in smart assistant, YoYo, which will offer voice command support and allow for the setting of routines.

The TV will also have video bell integration allowing a viewer to check who is at the front door without taking their eyes off the screen.

A family message board will offer a smart way to share notices with members of a household. And with a streaming assistant, it will be possible to find desired streaming platforms for various types of content.

Getting Your Hands on the TV

The Honor Vision has been on sale since 15th August for $540 while the Honor Vision Pro is retailing at approximately $680.

Obviously, the most outstanding difference between the two is the pop-up camera on the Vision Pro. To support video calling there are six far-field microphones.

It also has six speakers, 10W each, while the Honor Vision has only four speakers. And while the Vision Pro has 32GB of storage capacity, the Vision has 16GB.

The company says that it will initially focus only on the Chinese market and has made no mention of when they might be available on the global market.