Those who think that Harmony OS is a chance to end the dominance of iOS and Android in the mobile market seem to be delusional.
Huawei is positioning Harmony OS as an alternative to Android. But it seems that the same Android is at the heart of the Chinese manufacturer’s own operating system. At least on the platform from Google, the first beta version of Harmony OS 2.0 is based, which Huawei has recently begun to distribute to its mobile devices.
The fact that the first beta version of Harmony OS 2.0 is based on Android was announced to XDA Developers by one of the developers. He created a simple “Hello World” application targeting an older version of Android KitKat 4.4.4 and found that when trying to run it on devices with a newer version of Android and Harmony OS, a very similar error message was displayed. In the screenshot on the left, the notification says that an error occurred when launching the application, since the program was created for an older version of Android and may not work correctly on newer versions of the OS. And the screenshot on the right shows a message with the same content, with the only difference that the word “Android” has been replaced by “Harmony OS”.
Alternatively, you can use the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) to send instructions to your virtual device on the Harmony OS. And one developer was able to extract most of the system partition of the firmware, finding that the assembly contains the Android platform code.
An interesting takeaway from all this is that the first beta of Harmony OS 2.0 appears to be based on Android. Yes, we can assume that this is just a rebrand of Android and will forever remain so. But Huawei previously said that using AOSP (Android Open Source Project) is a transitional step towards creating the desired Harmony OS user experience.
But it should not be ruled out that the first beta version of Harmony OS 2.0 has more nuances than the public knows. XDA Developers contacted Huawei for comment and would like to hope that the company’s specialists will shed some light on the relationship between Harmony OS and Android.
In the meantime, Harmony OS remains Huawei’s most mysterious product. For the first time, the Chinese company publicly announced the creation of its own operating system as an alternative to Android in March 2019. Then, for a long time, nothing was heard about it, but the tightening of US sanctions forced Huawei to accelerate the development of its own platform, which is known as Hongmeng OS in the Chinese home market. And in December 2020, Huawei launched the first beta version of your OS for smartphones from the Mate 30 and P40 series, as well as MatePad tablets.