As Huawei has already publicly assumed, this year it intends to move away from Android. As we all know, the Chinese giant was prevented from using Google’s operating system in any meaningful way. Since in 2019 in the U.S., a ban prevents her from working with Google and making the Google Play Store available on her devices. Instead, the company played all its trump cards on Harmony OS, a new operating system that Huawei has been using since last year as its major replacement for Android.
Huawei’s Harmony OS is just the masked Android!
Interestingly, how did Huawei manage to do this? Well, according to Ron Amadeo of ArsTechnica, who had a chance to tinker with the Harmony OS emulator, they just didn’t. Huawei’s Harmony OS is just the Android version of Huawei without any reference to “Android” in the code. So they simply replaced the word “Android” with “HarmonyOS”. For example, it is the same that Amazon did with Fire OS, but at least Amazon was always sincere in saying that it was a fork of Android. Meanwhile, Huawei presents the Harmony OS as made from scratch, something that is more than a little misleading in retrospect.
However, Ron Amadeo writes:
After hours of studying the Harmony OS, I was unable to point out a single substantial change compared to Android. Apart from some things with changed names, nothing is different. If someone wants to shout “it’s just a beta!”, Huawei says that this operating system will be available on commercial mobile phones this year. I don’t think there is time to make a major overhaul from “Android” to “Not Android”…
Where do we stay?
In short, Huawei’s HarmonyOS being a fork of Android is not very surprising. It is the logical move to enable mass compatibility of applications that people already know and like. Despite building some of the best smartphones in the Android world, Huawei has seen its market share drop in the past two years. However, even if Huawei did not need the Play Store to succeed outside of China, it would have no interest without applications like WeChat. Getting developers to develop tailored versions of their applications for a new operating system was an impressive task. So, if you remember in 2013, when the market was considerably more fluid, Microsoft and Blackberry tried to do so but without success. Doing that in 2021 would be next to impossible… Not even Microsoft was lucky…