Huawei, whose options are increasingly limited with Google’s Android, is releasing its own Android competitor, HarmonyOS. While it was believed that Huawei would ship the operating system exclusively on new phones, the company may be pulling at least some of its older phones with it – especially those that can run EMUI 11.
“Yes, devices that run the new EMUI 11 with distributed technology can be upgraded to Harmony OS in the future,” a Huawei representative told employees at Android Authority.
Now we know very little about HarmonyOS. We can’t say what it will look like on a phone, what user interaction patterns it supports, or whether Huawei will provide an experience that EMUI users will be instantly familiar with. It’s also unclear whether Huawei will give users the option to update, or whether the Harmony change will come as a regular, mandatory OTA update.
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What is clear is that Huawei will have a lot of work to do if it is to make Harmony a viable Android and iOS competitor. Competitors like Microsoft and BlackBerry have found that building a platform that can rival Apple and Google without a functioning app store is not that easy. Digital trends notes that Huawei’s App Gallery is still not competing with Google Play by the end of 2020, and Android app support on Harmony OS means nothing if key apps based on Google’s Play Services fail to make the journey. Of course, it could all prove to be a moot point, as Huawei’s increasing isolation from component manufacturers could lead the company to make drastic changes to its smartphone business if the situation doesn’t change anytime soon.
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