We thoroughly analyze Harmonyos's beta: Huawei Plan B is Android disguised

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17 comentarios Iván Ramírez@ivan_r

After the US government added Huawei to the entity list in May 2019, the companies of the country, Google included, could not trade with the company.As a result, the mobiles that Huawei has launched since then, such as the Huawei P40, do not include Google services.In return, Huawei has been preparing its plan B for some time: create your own operating system.

We met this operating system finally a few months later under the name of Harmonyos, although it did not reach mobiles until the end of last year.Since then, only a few have been able to try Harmonyos, because for the moment it has not left China.We have managed to try Harmonyos and we tell you what it is like and we will try to answer the eternal question: Is Android with a mask?

Try Harmonyos, not suitable for all audiences

Since Huawei announced the public beta of Mobile Harmonyos in December last year, my greatest effort has been to prove it as soon as possible.It is a somewhat more difficult task than when we talk about new versions of Android, as Huawei launched Harmonyos for mobiles in two ways: as Ota for Huawei terminals launched in China or through the emulator of its programming IDE, Deveco Studio.

Oficialmente, HarmonyOS está abierto sólo para desarrolladores de China

Without a Huawei P40 or Huawei Mate 30 Chinese by hand, the only possible alternative was to use the emulator, which involves extra difficulties.To start, Huawei does not let you download the Deveco Studio not being that you visit the Chinese version of its website.If you log in with an "international" account of Huawei, the download is not available either, showing a notice that "international" users will be able to download the IDE later.The only option is to create a new Huawei account, based on China.

Sólo se puede descargar DevEco Studio si visitas la web China

Once these pitfalls have been overcome, we can finally download and install Deveco Studio, which, being also based on Intelij, is very similar to Android Studio, although with fewer buttons and some changes.The installation is not very different from that of Android Studio, with the difference that it is necessary to also install node.JS.

If you are familiar with Android Studio, Deveco Studio becomes the same, but with small changes here and there.Mainly, it has fewer buttons by not including a customization as intensive as that that has done Google, in addition to the many additions that it has incorporated in the last updates.Deveco Studio is somewhat more sparing.

DevEco Studio es muy similar a Android Studio

But here we have not come to create applications for Harmonyos, but to try Harmonyos, so the first step is to locate the emulator.This also works something different from Android Studio, and it is not a local emulator, but remote.That is, do not download the image of Harmonyos to execute it in a virtual machine, but you connect to a virtual machine through the Internet.

This is an additional obstacle, as Harmonyos has not yet been launched internationally so that, trying to access the virtual device manager, the system asks for downloading files that are never completed.It doesn't matter if you use VPN or proxy servers, Deveco Studio gives error.This was my nemesis for several weeks.

Para emular HarmonyOS necesitas una cuenta de desarrollador verificada, enviando una foto del pasaporte y una tarjeta de crédito

Without going into details, I finally had the inspiration that if Deveco Studio failed to download the files, maybe I could do something to do it on my own.A few hours of fighting later, Deveco finally had the resources for the emulator.The final boss was missing: he needs a verified developer account.

To access Huawei's remote services, it is necessary to prove your identity.To do this, you are asked to raise a photo of an identity document such as a passport and a credit card.The review process is manual, so that they can spend a few days before you pass the process.

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This would have been the end of the road if Huawei forced you to have a Chinese verified account, but luckily he let me enter with an international verified account.Many weeks later since the first time I installed Deveco Studio, the seven tests had finally passed and, finally, I could see the list of remote devices, ready to be emulated.

HarmonyOS te deja emular cinco dispositivos en total: móvil, tablet, tele, coche y smartwatch

This view is something more similar to the Android Studio emulator although, as we said before, the emulator works in streaming, showing within Deveco Studio.It is not as practical as the Android Studio emulator, but defends himself quite well, as long as you are patient.

This is Harmonyos

Analizamos a fondo la beta de HarmonyOS: el plan B de Huawei es Android disfrazado

The remote Harmonyos emulator is free, although it has an expiration date: Huawei gives you an hour to try it.The time is over, the session closes and the device is released for another user, erasing everything you would have done with it.Of course, nothing prevents you from starting a new session after your fame time with Harmonyos ends, although you will start from the beginning.

El emulador de HarmonyOS es remoto y con sesiones de una hora como máximo. Pasada la hora, se borra todo.

Generally, one -hour sessions are more than enough to be able.There is a lot of latency and perhaps some overload in the system, because the emulator is slow and it is difficult to answer.Besides, he is in Chinese.

This assumes that each new session begins with some acclimatization that begins by changing the system configuration entering pseudo-ciegas to the Android settings to change the language (or by ADB) and installing applications as goodly.It can be connected to the emulator through ADB, which facilitates many tasks that would be almost impossible with the latency and other limitations of the emulator.

Already with the emulator in Spanish and located, the first thing I did in Harmonyos was to make sure that it is, in effect, Harmonyos.This is necessary because it is visually identical to Emui 11, to such an extent that it is impossible to distinguish them.Indeed, system information confirmed it: Harmonyos 2.0.0 Developer beta 2.

Harmonyos looks and behaves equally to EMU 10 on Android 10 and, although the emulator is a bit of pre -installed applications, it is foreseeable that the final mobile version has exactly the same as the equivalent system under EMUI.A few installed applications come: Appgallery, Wallet, Health, Meetime, Huawei Ai Life and the basics for the system such as the camera, the telephone marker or the browser.

These pre -installed applications are, again, identical to the Android versions, not to mention that they are literally the same.The versions of the pre -installed applications correspond to the latest versions available in the Huawei mobiles with EMUI.

Algunas de las aplicaciones preinstaladas

It is not therefore necessary.With so much kinship, it is difficult to understand the difference between the EMUI over AOSP that has been using Huawei since 2019 of the new Harmonyos.

En Xataka Android¿Funcionan WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Google Chrome y otras apps sin los servicios de Google Play?

Harmonyos is compatible the vast majority of Android applications, which are installed without problems as long as they are for Android 10 or previous and do not need Google services to function.This means that yes, in practice you can use WhatsApp.

Sí, le hemos instalado WhatsApp

WhatsApp is installed without problems in Harmonyos, although it never sends the verification message, possibly when staying on the way to being an emulated device.In practice, it should work without problems in Harmonyos on a real mobile, although without being able to make a backup on Google Drive.

Android, is you?

¿EMUI?Nope, HarmonyOS

According to Huawei, Harmonyos is a "totally different Android" system, which has been developing for several years.Even in the company's last official clarification about whether Harmonyos is basically AOSP, the official position reiterates that it is a "completely new operating system" that "takes advantage of a large number of open -source of third -party source, including Linux".There is no mention to Android.

En HarmonyOS hay mucho Android, a pesar de que Huawei parece haber desterrado la palabra de su diccionario

For some reason, Android is a prohibited word in Harmonyos, despite the fact that the system undoubtedly drinks, and much, of AOSP.A search for "Android" in the official Harmonyos documentation literally throws zero results.

Cero resultados albuscar "Android" en la documentación de HarmonyOS

However, there is Android in Harmonyos, and much.Creating a totally new operating system that has complete compatibility with another is a titanic task, so it is an open secret that Harmonyos mobile version is based on AOSP.With diving a little in the system, Android references begin to bloom.

The mere fact of having to use ADB (Android Device Bridge) to connect with the emulator (and the Android Studio version, because it does not come with Deveco) is already a good track, but thanks to him we can obtain the properties of the system.In them we can see that this Harmonyos 2.0.0 beta 2 corresponds to Huawei API 4, but also with Android API 29, which is Android 10.In the properties it is also mentioned that EMUI's version is 11.0.1.

"ADB shell getprop" no miente, como las caderas de Shakira

If you need to search so much, within Harmonyos there is a good amount of references to Android, although they are not visible in full view.Many of the system applications maintain the name of the package they have on Android and that, therefore, include the "Android" prefix.

With the help of Activity Launcher, it is easy to find these Android cracks. Los ajustes del sistema siguen siendo com.Android.settings, el selector de documentos sigue siendo com.Android.documentsui, la interfaz del sistema sigue siendo com.Android.systemui y así un largo etcétera. Quizá lo más curioso es que hasta AI Lens, que es parte de la cámara de Huawei, también mantiene su nombre de Android, com.Alipay.Android.

En ocasiones veo "Androids"

The truth is that Huawei would probably have liked to rename these applications, but doing so would have broken the compatibility with Android applications that interact with these elements of the system.Be that as it was, the references to Android are omnipresent in the current version of Harmonyos for mobile.

They are not just names, it is also the rest.With Diskinfo we can see that the system partitions are the same as in Android and, with the help of a file explorer like Mixplorer, we can see the classic folder structure for alarms, notifications and, yes, there is also the Android folder.

The tests are stacked on each other to reach the same conclusion: there are no reviewable differences between a mobile with Harmonyos and EMUI.Both are operating systems based on the Android open source project, or AOSP.Only in this way is the great inheritance that Harmonyos and the total compatibility with Android applications have, even if they are based on archaic versions of the green robot operating system.

Harmonyos everywhere

So far we have talked about Harmonyos on a mobile, but the emulator allows us to take a look at how Harmonyos is in cars, televisions and smart watches.It is not surprising, because Harmonyos arrived much before these devices before making the jump to the mobile.

Harmonyos on a smartwatch

If Harmonyos on the mobile is like Emui, how is Harmonyos on a smartwatch?The answer is somewhat predictable: Harmonyos for smartwatch looks wear os.Not so much the aspect and behavior, which also, but the fact that one can connect again through ADB it already gives us the track.

HarmonyOS para smartwatch es sospechosamente parecido a Wear OS

Again, we can use ADB to obtain the properties of the system, where we see EMUI mention again and both API 27 (Android Oreo 8.1) As to API 29 (Android 10). Incluso hay una mención a Google en la propiedad [ro.feature.launcher.limit_google_feed].Actually, the values of the properties are irrelevant: the relevant thing is that we are again before an Android -based device.

Harmonyos on TV

Harmonyos on TV

One of the first places where Harmonyos was available was on televisions.This is somewhat evident when trying it, because the interface seems quite polished and we are even shown content ready to reproduce.We are facing our own interface a bit in the style of Google TV's, although not identical.

Lo más probable es que Harmonyos on TV sea un fork de Android TV

A good part of the Harmonyos interface on TV remains in Chinese even if the language is changed and when the kinship with Android TV is changed by the menus, it is evident.After all, Huawei App Gallery has to install apps from TV itself. De nuevo, ADB nos permite obtener todas las propiedades del dispositivo, incluyendo menciones como [ro.Kernel.Androidboot.Selinux].

Harmonyos in the car

Harmonyos in the car no tiene mucho para probar por ahora

Of all the devices supported by Harmonyos, the integration into the car seems to be themeter.The emulator has nothing except for a wallpaper and an application that is present in all versions and is probably related to the emulation itself.

Casi con total seguridad, HarmonyOS para coches es básicamente Android Auto

No hay mucho para probar en la propia interfaz, aunque el comando adb shell pm list packages -f nos deja claro de nuevo que estamos ante Android, es decir, un fork de Android Auto. Entre las aplicaciones instaladas tenemos com.Android.permissioncontroller, com.Android.systemui, com.Android.inputdevices y un largo etcétera.

La lista de aplicaciones en HarmonyOS para el coche

Similar, but not equal to 100%

¿Significa esto que Huawei ha cogido el código de AOSP, lo ha pegado en un editor de texto y ha hecho un reemplazar todo de "Android" a "harmonyOS".Nope.Harmonyos is based on Android, although it is not exactly the same.

Diving in the documentation and terminology of Harmonyos means playing at the seven differences with Android.There are many similar concepts but change their name. En terreno técnico, en vez activities tenemos abilities, en vez de widgets tenemos components, en vez de LinearLayout tenemos DirectionalLayout, en vez de TextView tenemos Text, los Android App Bundle son HAPS y así un largo etcétera.

Los cambios de AOSP a HarmonyOS van más allá de cambiar nombres

Although they are similar things, the AOSP code is different from that of Harmonyos on many occasions.Similar, yes, but with changes that go beyond changing the name.It could be that Huawei has taken the opportunity to do some cleaning in the AOSP code eliminating everything that is left over, but what is clear is that the changes are in some deep cases and, in a complex operating system, change any smallthing is enormously complicated.

El código para un botón en Android (izquierda) y en HarmonyOS (derecha). Parecido, pero distinto

However, the biggest difference between AOSP and Harmonyos possibly is not in something that changes, but in something that has been added and what Huawei has been repeating from day one: that it will be an operating system to dominate them all.

We do not know if Harmonyos will end up dominating everyone or not, but apparently a good part of Huawei's plans for their operating system, they can reuse parts of it on different devices.This is evident at the beginning of a new project in Deveco, at the moment in which we are offered between seven devices and several programming languages: Java, C ++ and JavaScript.

In return, in Android Studio we are presented with five devices, including Android Things (which in peace rests).In programming languages you have the favorite by Google, Kotlin, as well as Java and C ++.That is, the JavaScript apps have been taken from the sleeve, and they are a good indicative that there is something else in the mixture and intentions of Huawei to bring these apps not only to mobile phones, but also to other devices such as watchesWith "light" versions of Harmonyos, under the name Lite.

A día de hoy, HarmonyOS es básicamente Android con cosas encima. Por el momento, no muchas, aunque veremos cómo acaba el asunto.

All versions of Harmonyos for the different devices were equivalent to Android versions for mobile, wear OS, Android Auto and Android TV, although the final vision that Huawei of Harmonyos has seems to be more than that.Or, at least, it aspires to be.Nope es completamente exacto decir que HarmonyOS es exactamente Android, aunque la asociación es comprensible.

La documentación de HarmonyOS casi confunde más que aclarar, con frases como "HarmonyOS aprovecha los diseños orientados a miniaturización y basados en componentes para permitir la implementación bajo demanda de dispositivos diversificados"

Possibly Harmonyos' problem is the inch that Huawei has taken to the word android and the use of technical, diffuse and confusing language to describe its operating system and that seems to seek more to add a veil of mysterious complication than to really clarify whatIt is and what is not Harmonyos.

Creating an Android fork is not something to be ashamed.Huawei's efforts seem more focused on highlighting the latter, and although it is not the first company that creates an Android fork and possibly is not the last one, yes one of the ones that is most striving to hide the condition of Fork of the Fork of thesystem.

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