What you need to know
- The HarmonyOS 2.0 Developer Beta is the first time developers outside the company will have access to Huawei's replacement for Android.
- The beta is currently only supported on a handful of Huawei-made smartphones.
- The company plans on launching HarmonyOS-powered smartphones sometime next year.
Huawei's long journey toward independence from Google may finally be coming to an end, reports XDA Developers, as the company today officially launched its Developer Beta for HarmonyOS 2.0, the variant of its homegrown OS that's designed for smartphones. In light of its legal troubles, and its inability to access crucial Google services, the company hopes to eventually move its smartphone lineup to HarmonyOS and its own HMS services ecosystem.
Today marks a crucial milestone in those plans, as the Developer Beta will be the first time that developers outside of the company's own labs can try their hand at its OS. For developers looking to try out Huawei's new OS, the company currently only supports a handful of its own smartphones for the beta:
- Huawei P40 (ANA-AN00)
- Huawei P40 Pro (ELS-AN00)
- Huawei Mate 30 (TAS-AL00)
- Huawei Mate 30 5G (TAS-AN00)
- Huawei Mate 30 Pro (LIO-AL00)
- Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G (LIO-AN00)
- Huawei MatePad Pro (MRX-AL19)
- Huawei MatePad Pro 5G (MRX-W09)
- Huawei MatePad Pro Wi-Fi (MRX-AN19)
If you're a developer and own one of these devices, you can sign up to express your interest on Huawei's developer website and, if approved, you should receive instructions for installing HarmonyOS on your phone via an OTA update.
If you don't own one of these devices, you can also check out the built-in HarmonyOS 2.0 emulator in Huawei's DevEco Studio 2.0 Beta3 IDE, much like you can emulate Android inside Google's Android Studio IDE.
Early impressions by developers who've tried out the new OS suggest that Huawei has made the OS's design extremely similar to the current iteration of EMUI. They also note that developing apps for HarmonyOS shares many similarities with app development for Android, a deliberate move on Huawei's part to make its platform as appealing to developers as possible — not to mention the $1 billion it's spending on courting developers to its app store. After all, as Microsoft's experience with Windows Mobile shows, an OS without apps is bound to fail.
The Huawei P40 Pro is one of Huawei's best phones in 2020 and while it may be lacking in Google services, it packs a ton of hardware into a sleek uniform design with one of the most impressive camera systems on an Android phone.