Is Huawei’s HarmonyOS a simple copy of Android 10? | Digital Trends Spanish


Huawei has been forced to develop its own operating system (HarmonyOS) to circumvent the sanctions imposed by the United States since 2019. Washington accuses it of conspiring in favor of the Chinese government, for which it has deprived it of components and technology of American origin.

One of these restrictions has been access to Google’s Android operating system, which used to be available on the Chinese manufacturer’s computers. However, Huawei’s answer was HarmonyOS, whose public beta 2.0 arrived in December 2020.

“It is not a copy of Android, nor is it a copy of iOS,” said Huawei’s president of consumer software Wang Chenglu bluntly.

However, a report from the specialized site ArsTechnica seems to disagree with the executive of the Chinese company.

A simple fork Android

ArsTechnica accessed the HarmonyOS SDK and reviewed developer documents; his conclusion was blunt: “HarmonyOS is essentially a fork (fork) from Android ”.

In simple terms, a fork is when a developer uses a copy of the source code of a program, application, or even an operating system to create a new project.

“If you’ve ever seen a modern Huawei Android phone, HarmonyOS is largely the same… with some strings changed. So there is not much new to see, ”he says.

After going through a cumbersome 48-hour verification process, which even involved submitting passport photos, the reviewers of ArsTechnica they had access to the emulator and the operating system SDK.

Key findings

Among the antecedents discovered by the site are that:

The operating system features an exact copy of Huawei’s Android EMUI skin, but the “About” screen now says “HarmonyOS” and all mentions of Android have been removed. According to Huawei, it transferred the Android EMUI skin to HarmonyOS.

In the information section of the application, appear apps such as Android Service Library, Android Shared Library, com.Android.systemui.overlay, Androidhwext, among others.

Other indications are that the HarmonyOS System package uses the Android system icon, with the same green color and a label that indicates “version 10”, despite the fact that Huawei’s operating system only goes in version 2.

“The ‘version 10’ here is a reference to Android 10, which appears to be the version that HarmonyOS is based on,” he emphasizes.

“HarmonyOS is also too complete for a beta version […] You should see a non-existent app selection, limited features and other rough edges, ”the post questions.

“Huawei says HarmonyOS business phones could launch in 2021, and I believe it. That’s totally possible when you’re just shipping Android, ”the post adds.

According to the report, “Huawei’s main contribution to HarmonyOS is the same as it contributes to its versions of Android in China: Huawei replacements for the Google Play ecosystem.”

“After hours of rummaging through HarmonyOS, I couldn’t identify a single substantial change compared to Android. Apart from some renowned elements, nothing is different, ”he adds.

Huawei is basically in the same position as Amazon with FireOS, which is also a fork of Android, although in this case the American company recognizes it.

“Android is a trademark of Google, so Amazon and Huawei cannot use the name in promotional materials. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be frank about it in your developer docs and when speaking to the public. Not doing it feels like plagiarism ”, he points out.

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