When the sanction hammer was dropped on Huawei, forcing it to change course in terms of using Android, the company opted to create a fork of Android called HarmonyOS. This uses the company’s own services for things like an App Store and integrating other features without using Google’s version of Android.
The company has released its first phone with HarmonyOS, but if a new rumor is to be believes, more companies could turn to Huawei for software. Google’s version of Android dominates the market, bringing in a whopping 87% market share. However, outside of Google’s Pixel, phone makers create different skins atop the AOSP build to include features that integrate with the hardware for a more cohesive experience.
A new rumor suggests that some phone makers have reached out to Huawei to bring HarmonyOS to its devices. Shortly after, a separate rumor claimed that the companies in question include Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and others. However, we would be surprised if this actually came to fruition in any sense of the word.
Outside of China, every other Android phone relies on Google’s services for everything from messaging to phone calls and the big one, the Play Store. Google’s Play Services serve as the backbone for almost all of the features that we use on a daily basis.
But is HarmonyOS really a completely separate version of software built from the ground up? Or is it like something we’ve seen from other devices like Amazon’s Fire OS which is found on its tablets. It’s not far-fetched to think that Huawei could really build a separate operating system, but the time frame between the sanctions being enforced and Huawei’s announcement of HarmonyOS has us questioning things a bit.
Ron Amadeo over at ArsTechnica went hands on with HarmonyOS and discovered that there is “no discernible difference” when comparing Huawei’s software to Android. That’s not to say that Huawei didn’t put in the work with its new operating system, nor is it out of the realm of possibility for other company’s to be interested. However, if it’s just a fork of Android, what would be the real benefit for Xiaomi, Vivo, or Oppo to jump on the HarmonyOS train?