They said it in XDA months ago and repeated it in Ars Technica this week : Huawei’s operating system, Huawei HarmonyOS, is nothing more than another fork of Android. In it the Chinese manufacturer has basically taken the basis of the AOSP project and placed its EMUI customization layer on it.
The discovery is not too surprising: creating an operating system from scratch is a daunting task, especially when the goal is to compete with fully mature platforms such as Android or iOS. What has been Huawei’s solution? According to these analyzes, take the Open Source part of the Android platform (called AOSP) and disguise it as your own platform with EMUI.
HarmonyOs doesn’t seem to be just another fork of Android
HarmonyOS was supposed to be an independent operating system and different from what already existed on the market with Android and iOS. We saw it initially work on some televisions such as the Honor Vision TV and its appearance was promised in all kinds of IoT devices and even in cars, something that certainly seemed like a challenge.
The truth is that previous XDA analysis already showed that HarmonyOS seemed to be based on AOSP (Android Open Source Project), but a new analysis by Ars Technica confirms this data even more.
That review already posed a first surprise when it told us how to get access to HarmonyOS previews. To achieve this, it is necessary to send some personal information, including a photo of your passport for an “identity verification”. The author confesses to having sent this data with great suspicion and hoping that “Beijing does not have ‘a file’ of mine now”.
Thanks to this step, he was able to access not the system to install it on a device, but an emulator that responds to our actions as if it were a video game streaming on Stadia. From the first moment, the impression was that of being in front of a fork of Android, a derived operating system in which the Open Source components of AOSP had been used that anyone can take advantage of (as long as they respect the license terms) to create their own version of this platform.
In the case of HarmonyOS, there were many clues that this was nothing more than that. Several internal applications still kept their original names (such as “Android Services Library” or “Android Shared Library”, and elsewhere the operating system has simply been “relabelled” to remove such references to Android as much as possible.
HarmonyOS is basically a derivative version of Android 10 and that, yes, has the same EMUI as a customization layer that we see in the manufacturer’s terminals. The biggest difference with respect to a conventional Android is in something that we had already seen in its latest terminals: there are no Google services or applications, and instead we have its application store ( App Gallery ), for example, but as highlighted This analyst, “after hours of tinkering with HarmonyOS, could not point out a single substantial change with respect to Android.”
If everything remains the same, we are facing an operating system that is not very different from the proposals of other forks such as LineageOS – the most popular of the community forks – or Amazon’s FireOS itself, which does basically the same thing as HarmonyOS for years but without wanting to hide its origins.