After Google blocked Huawei’s access to the Android operating system, the Chinese tech firm announced that it had developed its own operating system called HarmonyOS. At the time, President of Consumer Business Richard Yu said the operating system “was not a copy of Android, nor was it a copy of iOS” and was completely different from the two mobile operating systems, the world’s most popular move. previous.
This made the reporter Ron Amadeo very interested in him and he decided to dig deeper to discover what his core is.
Arduous journey to develop an app for HarmonyOS
However, this turned out to be no easy feat, it was even more difficult than conventional reverse engineering. Wanting to test the HarmonyOS operating system, Amadeo had to go through the most complicated registration process ever.
To gain access to the HarmonyOS SDK software development tool and emulator, Amadeo needs to scan your passport and email information, phone number, credit card photo and send it to Huawei for review. After waiting 2 days, you will be verified to receive software development tools for HarmonyOS.
In order to download the App Development Kit for HarmonyOS, Amadeo had to submit a scanned passport and credit card scans.
Meanwhile, to become an iOS developer you just need to have a Mac computer and then go to Apple’s App Store to download Xcode and you can start building your application. The difference is really very simple between the two companies.
After two days of waiting, Huawei finally approved Amadeo to access the HarmonyOS development kit. But you can’t install the emulator on your computer either. Instead, when you log into the SDK, you activate a “remote emulator” such as HarmonyOS that is streamed to Amadeo from somewhere on the Internet.
The dummy phone was turned on in China, used a Chinese SIM, and ran on a network called “Huawei Intranet,” so it was likely connected to a real HarmonyOS phone in China. Location and navigation are disabled on this device. Even turning on USB debugging will cause connection loss.
HarmonyOS skin but soul with Android operating system?
Immediately in your eyes will be the familiar images on the Settings and About Android phone screens. The difference is that they are now called HarmonyOS. Huawei said that it has ported its EMUI interface to HarmonyOS, so it has the same interface as on Android. But the commands below the interface show the true nature of HarmonyOS.
The Settings and About HarmonyOS screens are almost identical to those for Android.
Install the DevInfo app on the virtual machine, the system part shows that the device’s OS is actually Android 10, not HarmonyOS. Not only that, when you go to the Applications section in Settings, you will see typical Android applications including: “Android Services Library”, “Android Shared Library”, “com.Android.systemui.overlay”, “androidhwext” and more and more. .
The DevInfo app and the apps below show that HarmonyOS is essentially Android 10
Some apps seem to be just a name change from Android to HarmonyOS, for example “HarmonyOS System Version 10” seems to have originated from Android System Version 10. How could HarmonyOS go from 2.0 to 10?
Compared to an operating system still in beta like HarmonyOS, its degree of perfection is surprising. It has an excellent gesture control system, millions of settings in the settings, a licensing system, NFC support, dark mode, and a perfect message notification panel, all identical to Android 10.
New in development and not yet released, many apps on the Huawei App Galley app store on HarmonyOS have hundreds of revisions, many from several years ago.
Compared to an unreleased operating system, there are no users, but the application is surprisingly high in quantity and quality. In the Huawei application gallery, you can see applications from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, WeChat, TikTok, Tencent, Baidu, … Many applications had hundreds of reviews posted by users from a few years ago, the time when HarmonyOS did not has done. has already been entered!
Application development for HarmonyOS
Then Amadeo tried to create an application from the HarmonyOS SDK. Produces a file with the extension .hap (HarmonyOS Ability Packages).
Like an Android app’s .apk file, if you change the .hap extension to .zip, the app will be unzipped and you can take a closer look inside. And Amadeo realized that inside that application with the extension .hap there is Android code. Not only that, but the Android decompilation tools also work with HarmonyOS, another clear proof that HarmonyOS is Android.
Another thing is that HarmonyOS apps built from the SDK will invoke Android API 29 or Android 10.
HarmonyOS SDK uses third-party software, which has 27 Android software packages.
Even Huawei’s own SDK, called (DevEco Studio), appears to use the same basic components as Google’s Android Studio SDK, with a lot of code pulled from Android. It is based on Jetbrains Intellij IDE with the Gradle system and is almost identical to Android Studio. If you look at the list of “third-party software” on the About DevEco Studio screen, you’ll see 27 application packages that start with the word Android, such as Android SDK Tools, Android DEX Library, Android Gradle Plugin, and more.
At least this makes it familiar to developers.
Frankly admit it, Huawei!
After hours of researching the HarmonyOS Development Toolkit, Amadeo couldn’t find a single point of difference between the operating system and Android, except for a few names. In other words, HarmonyOS appears to be an Android-based operating system with an interface borrowed from Huawei’s EMUI skin.
In fact, there is nothing wrong with this. Amazon’s FireOS operating system installed on the company’s Kindle tablets does the same. But let’s frankly admit this. Let’s say “HarmonyOS is a branch of Android” instead of declaring “HarmonyOS does not copy Android“Or is it a completely new operating system?
Let’s see what Amazon claims on its FireOS operating system. On the “Fire OS Overview” page, Amazon said bluntly: “Fire OS is the operating system that runs on Amazon’s tablet and Fire TV. Fire OS is an offshoot of Android so you can run your Android apps, most of them run on Amazon Fire devices.. “
However, despite much evidence that HarmonyOS is an Android-based operating system, Huawei’s “App Basics” page, a guide for developers of HarmonyOS apps, does not have a word that mentions Android. .
In fact, when Google and most of the company’s services are blocked in China, almost all Chinese smartphone manufacturers are trying to create their own set of applications to replace the affected ecosystem. Google’s deficit here: Huawei is no exception. But that is not a reason to use an Android composite OS with new skins and claim that it is a brand new OS and does not copy Android. No smartphone brand in the world does this, nor does any Chinese brand.