Huawei has started the powerful transition from Android with the Harmony OS beta to choose smartphones and tablets
When we talk about mobile operating systems, there are only two great solutions that currently exist: Android and iOS. And Apple’s tight control over iOS also means that Android is the only real solution for OEMs to make their smartphones. But Android is also heavily reliant on Google despite being open source, thanks to Google’s control over GMS and the entire ecosystem of interdependence around the GMS framework.
Huawei has dealt with this the hard way, with odds against its own since the U.S. Department of Commerce included it on the Entity List, cutting off the company’s access to new licensing agreements from GMS. The road without the help of Google was difficult, but Huawei followed the path of its HMS solutions. Despite this, the Chinese tech giant is still far from abandoning its smartphone business, and is now starting to move away from GMS-free Android to its own operating system, Harmony OS.
Harmony OS was officially revealed a year and a half ago, when the company showed off the Honor Vision smart TV as its first device with its own operating system. Throughout 2019, Huawei has reaffirmed its commitment to Android, with plans to expand the Harmony operating system to devices other than smartphones and tablets. New plans were announced at HDC 2020 earlier this year, but today, the company is beginning to recruit developers for its first beta version of Harmony OS 2.0 for mobile devices.
Huawei says that Harmony OS 2.0 comes with “more than 15,000 APIs” to support development in smartphones, wearable devices, cars, larger screens, and many other use cases. To check the new operating system, you can try Huawei’s DevEco Studio IDE Emulator (2.0 Beta 3) from the official Harmony OS website, or you can sign up to receive OTAs on your supported Huawei device to migrate to Harmony OS 2.0 Beta. Once your registration is approved, you will receive an invitation from Huawei with instructions on how to install the software on your device.
Eligible Devices for Harmony OS Developer Beta 2.0
The following devices are eligible to install Harmony OS Developer Beta 2.0:
- Huawei P40 (ANA-AN00)
- Huawei P40 Pro (ELS-AN00)
- Huawei Mate 30 (TAS-AL00)
- Huawei Mate 30 5G (TAS-AN00)
- Huawei Mate 30 Pro (LIO-AL00)
- Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G (IOL-AN00)
- Huawei MatePad Pro (MRX-AL19)
- Huawei MatePad Pro 5G (MRX-W09)
- Huawei MatePad Pro Wi-Fi (MRX-AN19)
As expected from a Beta developer, this is an unstable program that is intended for developers just to get started on their platform. As such, you should definitely make a backup of your data before upgrading to the new operating system. It is possible to go back to the official Android-based EMUI 11, but the rollback is expected to wipe out all user data.
Some developers who have access to the emulator have posted sample screenshots of their applications running on Harmony OS 2.0 to the Huawei developer community.
At first glance, these sample screenshots show that the Harmony OS is very similar to what the Android-based EMUI 11 looks like on the Huawei P40. Developer documents state that the applications are encoded in Java and that the designs are defined in XML files, similar to Android. We believe that Huawei expects the new operating system to be familiar to Android application developers as much as possible to reduce obstacles in the transition to a new operating system and the accompanying ecosystem.
Early adopters also mentioned (translated) “Android development ideas can be applied to Hongmeng (Harmony OS) development, greatly accelerating Hongmeng development”, which makes sense, although we did not delve into the new system operational or documentation to verify how true this statement is.
HARMONY OS 2.0 DEVELOPER BETA FEATURES:
- Over 50 new user interface components for developing HarmonyOS applications on smartphones, providing a consistent user interface experience across devices
- The HarmonyOS application framework applies to smartphones, enabling fast uninstalled migration, connectivity, transfer and download of HarmonyOS applications on different devices.
- There are a number of development and build tools available for Windows and macOS, helping you quickly develop HarmonyOS applications.
- Over 40 sets of reference code samples in smartphone app development so you can quickly understand how to use the HarmonyOS APIs
- API for distributed capacity (such as multimedia awareness) to detect multiple mobility states
- Standard input method framework and capabilities to develop multiple input methods and functions
- Unified Phone System Capabilities
- A comprehensive accessibility development framework so you can easily develop accessibility applications
- Standard distributed data management capabilities for real-time data synchronization between devices via distributed database APIs
- Enhanced account system capabilities to cover non-account devices in a distributed HarmonyOS system