Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
- Huawei’s Harmony OS 2.0 has many similarities to Android 10.
- This includes the presence of the Android Q Easter Egg in the list of installed apps.
- Huawei says it used “a large number of third-party open source resources” to develop the platform.
This year we heard for the first time that Huawei’s developer preview Harmony OS 2.0 has a lot in common with Android 10. Everything indicated that Huawei’s new platform was actually just Android with EMUI and a few tweaks.
Now Huawei has officially launched new MatePad tablets and they are the first Harmony OS products to hit global markets. Unfortunately, it looks like those expecting a brand new platform will be disappointed. We got our hands on the new MatePad Pro and it seems like there are numerous similarities in looks and functions with Android 10 (Q).
A bizarre similarity is that the Android Q Easter egg app is installed on the Harmony OS toting tablet. Check out the original Android-enabled MatePad screenshots in the first two images compared to the Harmony OS device.
Huawei MatePad Pro (2019)Huawei MatePad Pro (2019)Huawei MatePad Pro (2021)Huawei MatePad Pro (2021)
Coupled with the functional and visual similarities, it’s hard not to argue that it’s a large Android fork at best, rather than an entirely new platform as currently claimed. What is Huawei doing with it?
We asked the manufacturer about the similarities to Android (including the presence of the Easter Egg app) and confirmed the software running on the tablet. The manufacturer confirmed that Harmony OS 2.0 was actually running.
“While ensuring that all applicable open source rules are strictly followed, Harmony OS has used a large number of third-party open source resources, including Linux, to accelerate the development of a comprehensive architecture,” the company said to the Android Authority via an email response.
This would not be the first time that mobile platforms have adopted underlying Android frameworks, with the now defunct BlackBerry 10 offering the Android runtime to run Android apps. But it definitely seems like Harmony OS is closer to Android when it’s not actually an Android fork.
What does it actually bring to the table?
Nonetheless, the new platform offers a few interesting features, such as the super device functionality for easier device coupling. This provides a new circular user interface with the host device in the middle and other Huawei smart devices around it. Users need to swipe the smart device towards the host device to pair them. See the screenshot above for a better idea of how it works.
The company’s platform also offers other examples of cross-device functionality, such as the ability to display apps running on both your tablet and smartphone in a device’s Recent Apps menu. You can also swipe a running app from one Harmony OS device to another if that’s your thing.
The company is also promoting a “collaborative authentication” feature that allows you to use data from two devices to unlock your phone. As an example, the company cites using Face Unlock on your phone in conjunction with unspecified data from your smartwatch.
Are you interested in whether or not Harmony OS is Android-based? Let us know through the comments section.