In the end, HarmonyOS turned out to be a reworked Android 10

A reviewer from arstechnica disclosed that it was able to participate in the SDK test program for develop applications for the 2.0 platform HarmonyOS, developed by Huawei as an alternative to the Android platform.

And it is that even that Huawei had stated from the beginning that HarmonyOS is a separate project and completely different from Android and iOS, the reality is that this is not the case, since when testing on the SDK emulator it turns out that HarmonyOS is a clone of Android 10, which matches interface elements, applications and service services .

Let us remember that the project Harmony has been in development since 2017 and is a microkernel operating system. The project developments are released under the BSD license as part of the OpenHarmony project, which is overseen by the non-profit organization China Open Atomic Open Source Foundation.

The HarmonyOS 2.0 Mobile Phone Developer Beta has improved the following features:

• More than 15000 APIs (support development of applications for mobile phones / PADs, large screens, handheld devices, cars and machines)

• Distributed application framework

• Distributed user interface controls

• DevEco Studio 2.0 Beta3

The microkernel only implements the scheduler and IPC, and everything else is carried over to system services, most of which run in user space, plus the deterministic latency engine, which analyzes load in real time and uses methods to predict application behavior , is proposed as a task scheduler. Compared to other systems, the scheduler achieves a 25,7% reduction in latency and a 55,6% reduction in latency jitter.

Moreover, to provide communication between the microkernel and the external kernel services, such as the file system, network stack, drivers, and application launch subsystem, IPC is used, which, according to the company, is five times faster than IPC on Zircon and three times faster than IPC on QNX.

After gaining access to HarmonyOS through a highly invasive registration process, activating the SDK and emulator, and carefully analyzing the developer docs, I can't come to any other conclusions: HarmonyOS is essentially a fork of Android. The way Huawei describes the operating system to the press and in developer docs doesn't seem to have much to do with what the company is actually shipping. Developer docs seem written almost on purpose to confuse the reader; Any actual shipping code snippet you hold a magnifying glass to looks like Android with no major changes.

The phrase "fake it until you get it" is often given as motivational advice, but I've never seen it applied to OS development before. If you've ever seen a modern Android Huawei phone, HarmonyOS is largely the same… with some strings changed. So while there isn't much new to see, we can at least take a look at HarmonyOS and debunk some of Huawei's claims about its "brand new" operating system.

The system uses the "EMUI" shell, qIt also installs on Android-based Huawei devices.

The company claims to use the "EMUI" port for HarmonyOS, but all other components are indistinguishable from Android as well.

The article states that the HarmonyOS IoT edition code posted to the OpenHarmony repository does not overlap in any way with what is offered in the HarmonyOS 2.0 emulator.

In the first case, the system is based on its own LiteOS microkernel, and in the case of HarmonyOS 2.0, Linux kernel based Android 10 system environment is offered and a set of typical Android applications. The visible differences are reduced to the change of brand. There is no low-level system component analysis yet.

In the system information dialog, the platform appears as version 10, which looks like Android 10, not HarmonyOS 2. Third-party applications that display system information identify the environment as "Android 10 Q".

Furthermore, the IDE offered in the SDK is identical in interface and working methods to Android Studio and is also based on Jetbrains IntelliJ IDE and uses the Gradle compilation system.


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  1.   Diego German Gonzalez said

    A Chinese company saying it invented something that is a copy of an other product?
    I'm surprised! No one ever said
    That's only cool when Apple does it

  2.   post-clear said

    And what did you expect it to be, an alien spaceship? Of course it is a reworked Android. Today nothing is invented. There is a lot of criticism that if Google's monomopoly so and so, but then nobody has eggs to invent anything new.