With its new HarmonyOS operating system, Huawei intends to compete with Google and Apple
By amk, 18/02/2022

With its new HarmonyOS operating system, Huawei intends to compete with Google and Apple

With its new HarmonyOS operating system, Huawei intends to compete with Google and Apple

After two years of waiting, Huawei is finally launching its own operating system (OS) called HarmonyOS. In free fall since the United States placed the Chinese firm on the list of dangerous companies, Huawei hopes to compete with Google and Apple with its new OS and thus restore its image.

Article written by

Corentin Miralles

- franceinfo

France Televisions

Posted

on 04/06/2021 12:58

Reading time :

6 mins.

Huawei devices running HarmonyOS.

(HUAWEI)

Two years since Huawei, the Chinese smartphone giant fallen from its place as world number 2, was working on its own operating system (OS) to offer an alternative to Android on its smartphones. HarmonyOS of its small name, was already present on several devices of the brand in particular on its TV screens or its connected watch: from now on, it will equip all Huawei products.

But if the Chinese brand left the Android universe to embark on the oh so risky adventure of OS for smartphones, it is not by choice. Succeeding in offering a convincing new operating system in a market completely dominated by the behemoths of iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) is not easy. However, the firm had no choice: victim of the Sino-American trade war, Huawei was placed in 2019 on the list of companies dangerous to the security of the United States. Result ? For almost three years, US companies have been banned from doing business with Huawei. Enough to deprive it both of components to manufacture its phones but also of Google applications, including the PlayStore which allows you to install all the other applications. Huawei had tried to save face with EMUI 11, based on Android (created by Google , the OS is open-source, each brand adapting it according to its own criteria) but the technology company understood that it was going to have to stand out to regain its past glory. Because if in a few years, Huawei had joined Apple and Samsung on the podium of smartphone brands, it was slowly starting to come out of it because of the US embargo.

A world of connected objects

For two hours on Wednesday, the Chinese company therefore explained its new strategy, based on the construction of a real Huawei ecosystem. Thanks to a multitude of connected objects that are partners of the brand and several Huawei devices, the manufacturer promises a future where the oven can be managed from his phone and the car from his watch. With the slogan "One for all, all for one", borrowed from the Three Musketeers, the brand wants to revolutionize the world of device interconnectivity.

Via a simple contact between the telephone and the connected object, the user has access to all the functionalities of the device.

(HUAWEI)

Without prolonging the suspense, no technological revolution is to be reported on the horizon. However, the company signs a few new features here, certainly borrowed from other brands, but which seem well suited to its devices. Who "seem", because we have not yet been able to test this new OS. For example, it is possible to make your phone appear on your computer or on your tablet with a simple swipe of your finger. If you are playing a game on your tablet, again, with a simple movement of your index finger, you will be able to continue your game on your TV screen. Huawei also equips each of the brand's connected objects with a magnet on which all you have to do is place your phone to control it and access the device's features. The whole advantage of the operation chosen by the brand is to optimize an ecosystem and not to need applications to interconnect its devices, but just simple gestures to perform. Of course, as for the Apple ecosystem , that of Huawei only really offers its full potential if the user only has Huawei devices and compatible connected objects.

A nice mix between iOS and Android

Aesthetically and ergonomically speaking, nothing revolutionary either. Regulars of EMUI 11 and Android in general will not be confused by HarmonyOS. People familiar with the world of Apple will obviously find it much more difficult to make the transition, but it will certainly be less difficult for them than switching to Android. Because HarmonyOS embeds some imitations that can be found on iPhone. This is particularly the case of the control center, which, in addition to taking its name, also takes on its appearance and its functionalities (control of sound, brightness, wifi, music, etc.). Also, on the MatePad Pro, the taskbar is strangely reminiscent of that of iPads and Apple computers.

The control center developed by Huawei strangely resembles that of iOS.

(HUAWEI)

But where HarmonyOS seems to be interesting is the large space given to the various widgets. Again, Huawei was inspired by what is done on iOS and iPadOS, but unlike Apple devices, the widgets offered by Huawei seem to be more intuitive, more customizable and more numerous than those offered by the Apple brand. . And these widgets are obviously designed to be integrated into Huawei's ecosystem. Thus, if you want to share an article with someone who has a device from the brand, this person will receive the article directly in a widget without the need to install any application beforehand.

But where is the P50?

Huawei took advantage of its conference to present several new devices. Thus each segment of the brand is endowed with a new product. On the tablet side, it is the MatePad 11 and its premium version the MatePad Pro that open the ball. Respectively in 11 inches and 12.6, they will both have an anti-blue light system and will be compatible with the brand's new magnetic keyboard. The MatePad 11 unlike its big sister will not benefit from an OLED screen or 8 speakers but “only” four. Another difference between the two tablets: the MatePad 11 will have an 8 megapixel camera against 13 MP for the pro version, to which will be added an ultra wide-angle module and a depth sensor. In addition to two TV screens, one of which is curved, with integrated speaker and dedicated to gaming, Huawei presented its two new connected watches, the Watch 3 and the Watch 3 pro. Both allow a whole host of actions without the need for your phone, thanks to an on-board SIM card. The many sensors that equip them allow you to analyze your sleep or your heart rate. The main difference between the entry level and the pro version lies in the materials used to make them. The first is mainly aluminum while the second combines titanium and ceramic.

But if all these new products do not make us forget the absence (or almost) of information on the brand's most anticipated new smartphone. It was only at the very end of the conference that the P50 made a brief appearance, through a photo. Huawei then explained that it was still developing its flagship phone, the successor to the P40. With the photo sensors available on the P50 on the presentation, Huawei does not seem to have abandoned what made the reputation of its high-end smartphone. But apart from this photographic module and the fact that this phone will also run under HarmonyOS, no other information has been given. Even its release date remains unknown, while it was originally supposed to be released in the spring of 2021. Huawei was content to invoke "reasons that you all know" to justify this delay. Covid crisis? US embargo? Still, without its major smartphone, Huawei will have a hard time making HarmonyOS a serious competitor to Android and iOS.

The only image of the future P50 communicated by Huawei.

(HUAWEI)

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