Huawei has long been banned from using Google software and operating systems on its devices, so it developed the custom HarmonyOS as a replacement. Its phones may be struggling without Android, but forget all that: HarmonyOS now runs on a… water bottle.
Huawei’s HarmonyOS-powered smart water bottle is available for sale on Vmall, the company’s online retail shop. According to NotebookCheck and Huawei Central’s translation of the product listing, it appears HarmonyOS primarily serves to offer status updates on the water bottle.
As you might expect, the 316L stainless steel smart water bottle securely stores all types of liquids, including water, juice, coffee, tea, and even soda. The bottle comes in black, blue, and white and features an antibacterial coating that promises to nuke 99.9% of germs — indeed a major selling point right now as we continue to deal with a raging pandemic. In my own translation of the product listing, there appears to be a built-in tea compartment toward the top of the bottle.
But that’s all pretty standard stuff for a water bottle. The marquee feature of Huawei’s newest device is its touchscreen display, and that’s where HarmonyOS comes into play. The screen itself is customisable and can display your name and track the bottle’s internal temperature — helpful if you’ve left the bottle behind in a car on a hot day. Huawei advertises up to 12 hours of temperature preservation. It also lets you know how much liquid is left.
The bottle is also Bluetooth so that you can view these stats directly to your smartphone. There is also a quick pairing feature available, but according to the translated fine print, it seems limited to Huawei smartphones running EMU 11. The bottle is IPX7 certified, meaning it can submerge in up to a metre of water. It features a 250 mAh battery that promises up to 20 days of use before charging with the proprietary cable included in the package.
Huawei sells the bottle for about $US25 ($35), converted over from the Chinese Yuan. It costs double what you’d pay for a knock-off smart water bottle on AliExpress, though it seems Huawei tuned its HarmonyOS to work a bit smarter than those cheaper variants.
Huawei’s smart water bottle might seem like a gimmick out of the blue, but it seems to exist mainly as a testament to how malleable Huawei hopes to make its home-brewed operating system. Huawei launched HarmonyOS in 2019 after the U.S. had effectively blacklisted the company from selling its devices. That also cut off the company’s access to Google’s Android operating system, which previously powered its smartphones and tablets.
Since then, Huawei’s been on a journey to figure out how to scale HarmonyOS, which is not that bad at all. I used it on the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6, which is a gorgeous piece of hardware. But without any Android apps and Google Play services, it was hard to get much done beyond video playback and reading the internet. At least this water bottle won’t have those problems.