Huawei launched the first beta of HarmonyOS 2.0, its alternative to Android, in December 2020, followed by HarmonyOS 3.0 in closed beta in March 2021. Only a handful of very recent smartphone and tablet models are currently compatible. The operating system seems to do everything to look like Android, down to the code level, presumably not to lose too many developers along the way.
Huawei offers to join the beta program of HarmonyOS the alternative to the Android operating system that the firm has been developing behind the scenes for years in version 2.0 and since March in version 3.0 (closed beta). The latest version introduces advanced connection features to the brand’s other devices . The goal for the moment is above all to seduce developers , without whom the usefulness of the mobile operating system will remain limited. Huawei claims that HarmonyOS 2.0 and 3.0 come with “over 15,000 APIs,” those programming interfaces that make application development easier. But also a new development suite called Huawei DevCo Studio IDE (in version 2.0 beta 3).
And straight away we notice that developers and customers of the Android era should generally feel at home in the HarmonyOS ecosystem ( formerly called HongmengOS ). The first captures via the emulator of the development suite show that the design of HarmonyOS resembles (not to say that it is identical) to that of the EMUI 11 Android overlay . And the similarities aren’t just cosmetic: apps are coded in Java and structures are defined in XML files, just like on Android .
HARMONYOS 2.0, 3.0: HERE’S HOW TO TEST THE NEW OPERATING SYSTEM BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE
According to the latest information, the first smartphone to be sold directly with HarmonyOS will be the Huawei P50 . In the coming months and years, a total of 42 Android smartphones launched by Huawei and Honor will be able to migrate to HarmonyOS . Ultimately, Huawei will also offer its OS to other Chinese manufacturers to help them emancipate themselves from Google. But initially, besides the P50, only a handful of terminals will be able to switch to the new operating system
However, we do not recommend installing it at this stage. This first version is only of interest to developers. However, it is still possible to switch back to Android / EMUI 11 if you have installed it by mistake or are disappointed. Note, however, that the operation will erase all of your files and settings. If this doesn’t scare you, and you still want to test the operating system on a dedicated smartphone, follow these steps:
- Click here to join the beta program
- Once your registration is approved, follow the link and instructions that Huawei will email you
You can also test the system by clicking here to simply install the development suite and use the included emulator. Note that all documentation is in Mandarin. For the time being, the source code of HarmonyOS 2.0 and 3.0 has not been made public by Huawei . Enough to promise hours of exploration for the most assiduous hackers, with perhaps a few discoveries !