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Huawei Harmony OS 2.0 review: Very underestimated ecosystem

Huawei HarmonyOS
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2021 TechnikNews)

Individual technical ProProducts have been developed very maturely over the past few years, so an ecosystem is without question the direction of future development. If you connect smartphone, tablet, notebook and all other IoTProducts, you save yourself the effort of transferring files and eliminate the limits on the hardware side Proproducts. We tested the Huawei Harmony OS 2.0.

The so-called "ecosystem" is actually still the construct consisting of smartphones, tablets and notebooks, that of small Products around. Sounds pretty simple, but the number of manufacturers that have a full ecosystem is sadly small. Probably the most important reason for this is the large distance between the Android and Windows operating systems. A few months ago, the operating system "Huawei Harmony OS" was officially presented. The plan after that had existed in-house since 2012, due to a forced Problems advanced. It wants the perfect combination of different hardware Proreach products.

Harmony OS on individual devices

Before talking about connections between many devices, many will find it interesting to see what improvements Harmony OS can bring to individual devices.

Humane logic

The first thing that catches your eye are the new interactive widgets. You can swipe up from an app with the strip below to look at a widget, to carry out simple functions or to view information. An open widget does not compromise your privacy. Of course, you can also attach the widget to the home screen in different sizes for non-sensitive content.

 

A central guideline in the development of Harmony OS is its ease of use. Tasks that used to take several steps are merged. Activities should be as simple as possible. For example, there are the large folders, a feature that I personally enjoy using. It categorizes apps on the home screen and a folder that originally had to be opened now saves a click. A total of nine applications now fit in what is actually a 2 × 2 field. Of course, you can also put more of them in a folder, which you can then open by clicking on the ninth app. 

In the settings you can now see the search bar at the top of every position. If you can't find something, you can enter the search directly and don't have to swipe up again. Intelligent widgets on the start screen adjust the content according to the individual daily cycle. 

optics

Harmony OS also brings some visual improvements, the appearance is more humane. Levels of adjustment are shown in rounded maps that run through the entire operating system. Folders, on the other hand, no longer have borders, and buttons are designed so that you can better recognize that you can press them. The new, beautiful font can be adjusted in terms of thickness and size, and some icons have been redesigned. 

If you swipe down from above, the new control center catches your eye. This is similar to iOS and MIUI now split in two. The logic itself is a matter of taste, I like it, but the main reason for this is that the control center now has to accommodate significantly more content. This includes recently connected Harmony OS devices, Super Device and a music control. The WLAN and Bluetooth modules are now much more intuitive to use without having to go into the settings. 

Fluidity, stability

The liquid has been further improved on a very good EMUI basis. Stability and constant behavior have become Huawei's greatest strengths over the years. Hanging, locking of the frame rate on a 90 / 120Hz screen, crashes will not be found in use. If you say that iOS has “the best 60 Hertz on the market”, then Huawei would be clearly in second place.

In Harmony OS, the loading of apps has been made faster and in particular the RAM management has been improved. This thing greatly improves the user experience. With a Harmony OS smartphone with eight gigabytes of RAM, you can open many apps, leave the smartphone there overnight, and in principle no apps are reloaded the next morning. This experience is better than with iPhones.

Great device

If you tie in with the optics, it is noticeable that each waiting circle in Harmony OS has got a new animation: A small circle that rotates around a large central circle. This is the most relevant thinking in the Harmony OS operating system: Super Device.

Super device in the control center

In the new huge module of the control center, all Harmony OS devices in the area float on the surface. The simplest method - dragging - is used to connect these devices to one another. This method should also be easy to understand for non-tech-savvy people. The device that you want to have connected simply has to be dragged towards the smartphone in the middle. Formerly, the "Tap to Connect" with NFC under EMUI, for example with speakers like the Huawei Sound X, was very practical at first glance, but you always had to move to walk to the speaker. Nowadays it is enough to pull the speaker towards you on your smartphone or tablet. Of course, you can still just connect your smartphone to the NFC tag of the MateBooks or MatePads hold.

Huawei Harmony OS Super Device

Super Device Menu (Image: TechnikNews)

Multi-screen collaboration mode

Connected, you get directly into the "Multi-Screen Collaboration" mode. With this you can first simply operate the smartphone on the MatePad and it also serves as a remote release, for example to take photos of yourself.

Not only that, simple dragging makes it easy to share files between devices. Images on the smartphone are simply transferred from the gallery to the MatePad, like two devices in one. On the go, you could simply edit files from your smartphone using an application on your tablet and respond to WhatsApp without having to log in via WhatsApp Web.

Harmony OS's intention

Eliminating the obstacles between different hardwareProproducts is probably the most important intention in the development of Harmony OS. For example, you can play a smartphone game on the MatePad, whereby the aspect ratio of the smartphone app is always automatically adjusted and this does not affect the smartphone itself, on which you can still write messages. The whole thing, although the tablet actually shows the content of an app on the smartphone, which is optimized for the tablet. It is always particularly helpful when you gamble on the tablet for a long time, the device that heats up and loses battery, but the smartphone is next door.

All incoming messages in this mode are only displayed on the smartphone so that strangers cannot see anything of their own privacy on the large screen.

Huawei Harmony OS synchronization

As soon as the devices are in a network and a Huawei account, you can access the content of other devices in the file system and the gallery. (Image: TechnikNews)

You use the power of the smartphone chip, the pleasant display of the MatePad and, for example, the speakers of an external Bluetooth box. Many devices become one. The way of thinking at Harmony OS is no longer "computing power from the device, display from the device", but " Computing power and Advertisement". In the future, too, smart home devices with only one feature, such as a camera, will harmonize perfectly with other devices. It combines the strengths of the respective hardwareProducts and destroys the barriers to unite them into one gigantic construct, the Super Device.

Impressive latency

A very important but difficult point that attacks the deepest logic of operating systems among themselves is latency. The Harmony OS latency is really very low. An inappropriate but very meaningful test: we start the stopwatch on the smartphone, project this screen onto the tablet and stop recording video. We can only determine a difference of 40 milliseconds. What is that supposed to mean? More than half the latency of Bluetooth in-ear headphones. So there is no noticeable latency in everyday use, you can proeasily operate the smartphone via the tablet.

Huawei Harmony OS latency

(Image: TechnikNews)

Smartphone x MatePad / Mate Book

Earlier, I told you a lot about connecting to the smartphone in the Super Device concept, which is why there are only small additions to this chapter.

After connecting the smartphone and tablet, the multi-screen collaboration is displayed as a floating window that can be operated as always by maximizing, minimizing and closing. You can even open three smartphone apps side by side on the notebook. To do this, click on the plus at the top and the currently running app is separated from another window. This allows you to maximize the efficiency of multi-tasking. The clipboard is also transferred. What has been copied on the smartphone is pasted directly on the connected device. The speed, especially when transferring data, is very fast, faster than Apple's AirDrop. On the PC Manager of the MateBook, you can also directly backup the smartphone's gallery and use the hotspot. 

Huawei Harmony OS Multiscreen Collaboration

Three smartphone apps on the notebook side by side (picture: TechnikNews)

MatePad x MateBook

The functions mentioned above may already be familiar to fans from EMUI 11. In the past, the gap was always between the notebook and the tablet. With the Harmony OS operating system, the power of the smartphone was ended, as the MateBook can now also connect to the MatePad.

"Mirror" mode

The user has three modes to choose from: In the first, the notebook monitor is reflected on the tablet, for example to show presentations in someone else's hands. However, you can also operate the notebook from the tablet using a pen, touch or your own keyboard, take screenshots, make markings and much more.

Huawei Harmony OS Tablet Notebook Mirror

(Image: TechnikNews)

"Extend" mode

In the second mode, "Extend", the MatePad serves as a second monitor for the MateBook, just like Apple Sidecar, so that a second screen can be accessed while on the move. With this you can, for example, research some information on a homepage while writing a text. Or you can drag a video onto the MatePad, maximize it and directly select in the PC Manager which device the sound is coming from and then optionally control the volume using the buttons on the tablet. In this case, serving as a second screen is just like a full-screen app, which in turn means that you can simply reply to messages on the tablet from time to time.

Huawei Harmony OS Tablet Notebook Extend

(Image: TechnikNews)

"Collaborate" mode

The third mode is called "Collaborate". It's also a collaboration mode, but as you can see, the tablet reverts to the normal Android user interface and the notebook reverts to normal Windows. However, if you slowly move the mouse pointer of the notebook to the right, a small hint appears on the tablet to operate it with the computer mouse. In this mode you can also easily move files back and forth. It is called “Collaborate” because, for example, you can simply draw a sketch or draw a picture on the tablet's touchscreen with a good stylus and then drag it directly onto the presentation on the PC to share ideas with the team. 

Huawei Harmony OS Tablet Notebook Collaborate

(Image: TechnikNews)

Conclusion - the operating system of the future?

In the end, you might think that Harmony OS really isn't that surprisingly new for a single device. And of course it still has weaknesses, such as the fact that you still have to open the software on the MateBook instead of establishing a connection in the control center as with macOS, that you cannot connect the notebook with the tablet and smartphone at the same time and a lot more. But don't forget: This is only the first version of Harmony OS that is available to the general public. Rome was not built in a day, the first airplane in the air did not directly reach the speed of sound and the Harmony OS, which has only been in existence for a few years, already achieves such a strong connection between different bases, which in my opinion is still something to be recognized.

This test made me aware of what the so-called “super device” actually means. Harmony OS wants to stop relying on individual hardwareProducts and connect them all into one gigantic device. There is currently only a small part in the operating system that is capable of the above.

What does Harmony OS want to do?

A single HarmonyOS device itself is like a lost island, you need the devices around the center circle for it to fully deploy and operate. What HarmonyOS wants to do is the small suitable operating system for every small everyday lifeproduct.

In the future, the TV could just be a very high quality screen with a small module of Internet connection with Harmony OS, then you just have to be close to the smartphone and it uses the chip and the services of the smartphone. Air filters, air conditioning and light use sensors on the smartphone directly on the bed, without their own sensors, in order to be closer to the user himself. The smart speaker is just a loudspeaker that uses the power and internet services of the corresponding end device with a smartphone, tablet or PC nearby.

Different Harmony OS in different devices

Many may not know that the minimum requirements for Android 11 are 512 megabytes of memory. These will never reach every small smartwatch or refrigerator, but Harmony OS has had small ones since the beginning Proproducts with up to 128 kilobytes of RAM. It consists of individual modules. With an all-in-one smartphone, Huawei puts everything in, but only a few small modules for a surveillance camera, refrigerator, loudspeaker or desk light, for example, in order to fulfill their function with another Harmony OS end device. Are you currently using a smart home? Proproduct, you need at least one app with two connections on the smartphone and end device. However, if the smart device uses the open little Harmony OS module, none of this is used anymore, you just have to search for it in the Super Device menu. 

As mentioned above, the Harmony OS symbol is a small circle that flies around the large circle. The big circle is the smartphone to be operated and you need more and more small circles around that speak the same simple language for communication to help us with tasks. 

Future?

With this, Huawei's Harmony OS has shown us the direction of future development, where each hardwareProproduct only has the functions it needs to be used in combination with another device. This not only saves money, it also protects the environment and the size of the individual devices. The connection is open here, you only have to integrate the Harmony OS module into the device to easily reach the connections. When we are all surrounded by a giant Super Device, our lives will be a lot easier.

Even if the Huawei Harmony OS operating system fails, it is definitely an open start to the bright future. 

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Yinan Xia

Yinan has always been interested in technology, especially smartphones. That's why he started two years ago with a YouTube channel about current technologyProducts and now reports for TechnikNews about current topics that interest him.

Yinan has already written 29 articles and left 6 comments.

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