Huawei has been holding its HDC conference dedicated to developers since Thursday, September 10, and provides an update on its product and software ecosystem. Its new HarmonyOS 2.0 operating system and EMUI 11 interface are supposed to start slowly and not so surely the post-Google / Android era.
Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer division, began by unveiling plans for the deployment of HarmonyOS 2.0. The open source code of the operating system will thus be functional on all the brand’s devices, even those with 4 GB of RAM or more, by October 2021.
For Huawei smartphones, a beta will be made available to developers from December 2020 to prepare for the transition, which will not be as immediate or final as one might have thought. Indeed, all Huawei smartphones will not necessarily run on HarmonyOS in 2021 instead of Android.
The Chinese giant simply wants to give itself the means, by finalizing HarmonyOS, to be able to leave Android calmly but this break is not its primary objective, Richard Yu has also hammered it more or less subtly throughout the conference.
“Maybe from next year we will have smartphones with HarmonyOS.” This therefore remains a declaration of intent that is too vague to draw conclusions. But it is certain that HarmonyOS 2.0, an OS that works on all Huawei products, is at the heart of the firm’s 1 + 8 + N strategy (1 = smartphone, 8 = connected objects, N = IA, connected home, services).
Android based EMUI 11 … 10
Huawei then chained its keynote on EMUI 11, its new software overlay based on Android … 10 and not Android 11. It is a voluntary and above all daring choice on the part of Huawei. The manufacturer thus deprives itself of the new features brought by Android 11 in order to offer its home alternatives.
Huawei puts a lot of emphasis on the animations it promises to be smoother and more polished when opening an application, for zooming in the interface, scrolling the volume bar or opening photos in the gallery . The idea is to implement longer transition animations to flatter your beautiful eyes.
– Huawei Mobile (@HuaweiMobile)
September 10, 2020
The biggest addition brought by EMUI 11 concerns multitasking and multi-windows. It is an extension of the navigation dock, this little button that you place anywhere and that replaces the virtual buttons at the bottom of your screen.
In EMUI 11, you can quickly reopen apps in an adjustable floating window that hovers above any foreground app. You can even open two floating windows at a time for even more powerful multitasking on foldable smartphones like the Mate XS: a great asset for “power users” as they say and one of the best additions of EMUI 11.
Huawei also gives it another layer with MeeTime, a feature that mixes video calls and screen sharing between several compatible Huawei devices such as between a smartphone and a smart TV or a smartphone and another smartphone. Nothing very new as we had already seen this function during the presentation of EMUI 10.1.
The constructor also explained that he is working on his own translation and subtitling function, like an Android Live Caption. This feature called AI Subtitles allows subtitling any audio content on the fly, even if the application does not natively support subtitles.
AI Subtitles will also allow the direct translation of English, Japanese or Korean content into Chinese. Huawei explains that more languages will be supported eventually.
The EMUI 11 beta is available this Thursday in China, offered on the Huawei P40 and P40 Pro, Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro, MatePad Pro and two other devices. In addition, Huawei announced that the Honor 30, Honor 30 Pro, Honor View 30, Honor View 30 Pro and Huawei Nova 7 could also benefit from the beta of EMUI 11 in a second step.