Huawei rolls out HarmonyOS with minimal changes compared to Android
Huawei has started rolling out HarmonyOS, the internal operating system for smartphones that was developed as a replacement for Android after being banned from using it.
Although all of the Chinese company’s smartphones came pre-installed with Android until 2019, then-US President Donald Trump put it on a blacklisted list of companies, restricting access to much of their hardware and software due to cybersecurity concerns.
The blacklist prevented Huawei from partnering with a US company, including Google, that develops and maintains Android, but that didn’t stop it from using AOSP, Android’s underlying source code based on an open source license.
Since then, Huawei has released devices based on its own version of AOSP that can run apps developed for Android, but cannot use Google’s services, such as the Play Store, Maps, Chrome or Gmail.
It has now distanced itself from Android, claiming that the Harmony OS will bring a new experience to users. “HarmonyOS’s user experience has surpassed that of the Android era.
We’ve fixed issues such as slowing down and lagging devices in the Android era,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer unit, at an online product launch event.
“Our HarmonyOS has stronger functionality and stamina, and it will be the best operating system in This Internet of Things era.
” But despite the rhetoric, HarmonyOS is still built on the same foundation as Android, can still run apps developed for the platform, and has many of the features included in Android 11.
According to Arstechnica Android entries were still found in HarmonyOS and it is virtually “identical” to previous versions of Huawei’s Android skin EMUI.
Huawei will start rolling out the operating system on select smartphone models and even offer users the chance to switch from Android if they want to.
HamonyOS was first unveiled in August 2019, just a few months after Trump’s ban went into effect.
At the launch event yesterday, Huawei unveiled a new smartwatch that would also run HarmonyOS.
However, that product actually uses a different version of the operating system designed specifically for IoT and wearables that is not based on Android, but instead on Huawei’s own LiteOS.
Huawei was once the world’s largest smartphone maker, but fell out of the world’s top five last year, pushed aside by South Korea’s Samsung, according to data from market research firm Canalys.