What you need to know
- Huawei has confirmed that it will be rolling out Harmony OS to EMUI 11 enabled devices.
- It's unclear whether this will be offered to all EMUI 11 enabled devices, or just a select few.
- Huawei's HarmonyOS is an operating system meant to replace Android as its platform of choice.
Huawei, increasingly limited in what it can do with Google's Android, is releasing its own Android competitor with HarmonyOS. Now, while it had been assumed Huawei would ship the operating system exclusively on new phones, the company may be pulling along at least some of its older phones — specifically those that can run EMUI 11.
"Yes, devices running the new distributed-technology based EMUI 11 will be eligible for upgrade to Harmony OS in the future," a Huawei representative told the folks over at Android Authority.
Now, we know precious little about HarmonyOS. We can't say how it'll look on a phone, what user interaction patterns it'll support, or whether Huawei will deliver an experience that will be familiar to EMUI users out of the box. It's also unclear whether Huawei will let users choose to update, or whether the Harmony change will come as a regular, mandatory OTA update.
What is clear is that Huawei will have a lot of work cut out for it if it wants to make Harmony a viable Android and iOS competitor. Competitors like Microsoft and BlackBerry have found that it isn't as easy as you may think it is to build a platform that can take on Apple and Google without a viable app store. Digital Trends notes that Huawei's App Gallery still remains uncompetitive with Google Play in late 2020, and support for Android apps on Harmony OS means nothing if crucial apps built off of Google's Play Services can't make the trip. Of course, it could all prove to be a moot point as Huawei's increased isolation from component makers could lead to the firm making drastic changes to its smartphone business should the situation not change soon.
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