Huawei officially launched the second version of Harmony OS, the Chinese manufacturer’s own operating system, in October 2020 as a homemade and fresh alternative to dethroning Android. After all, thanks to conflicts with the United States government, it was not allowed to use Google’s ecosystem and was limited to a limited open source version of the platform.
Through the natural registration process, Arstechnica managed to get a copy of the system to understand exactly how this competitor plans to dethrone Android in China. And, in a nutshell, what the team found is just an adaptation of Google’s own system. This allegation was initially made in December 2020, but has now received further support.
Even before going to work, journalists still complained about the registration process, which is quite time-consuming, invasive and detailed: the press even has to send a photo of the passport and credit card to get approval to use the system, in a process that takes two days and there is no guarantee that the information will be later deleted or stored securely.
I’ve seen this before
By downloading the SDK (development kit) and testing the released build, the Arstechnica team came to a simple conclusion: Harmony OS is nothing more than Android with Huawei’s own skin, EMUI, but with a changed name.
The whole look is very reminiscent of the Google system, from the menus to the organization of icons on the home screen. Even the app info screen “provides” inspiration, with various files from the Android library found. And the main problem is misleading advertising: in all official material, the brand announces that this is a “totally new” system.
The main differences are in the renaming of certain sections and the provision of a different development package, DevEco Studio – which is very similar to the Android Studio SDK, also in code, as confirmed by Arstechnica.