Chinese tech giant Huawei kicked off its annual Huawei Developer Conference (HDC) today (10-Sep-20) in Dongguan, China. During the conference, the company announced EMUI 11 (the latest version of the company’s custom Android skin) and Harmony OS 2.0. Huawei confirmed that a beta version of the Harmony OS 2.0 SDK will be available from September 10 2020 on smartwatches, TVs, and head units. The firm added that a beta version of the developer tools will come to smartphones in December 2020.
Harmony OS 2.0
Harmony OS 2.0 was the main theme of the announcement today. According to the company, Harmony OS 2.0 is the first distributed operating system that is truly built for the full-scenario era. It enables voice interaction through cross-device collaboration, large and small screen interaction, fast network distribution, adaptive UX, and visual/utterable AI. Huawei consumer business CEO, Yu Chengdong, said that the company will launch smartphones with this new OS in 2021. Huawei also plans to open source the entire Harmony OS through the OpenHarmony project. This would allow developers to build an open-source version of the OS, much like what you can do for Android with AOSP.
EMUI 11 comes with several new features that are designed to improve the user experience on Huawei devices. The UX improvements include changes to the Always-on Display (AOD) feature, which now gives users access to a host of customization options. With the new software release, users will get access to various customization options for the AOD feature, new themes, and customizable animated elements on the AOD, and the ability to show any image, live video, GIF on the AOD. Along with the AOD improvements, EMUI 11 has an updated design for the stock gallery app. The Photos tab in the updated gallery app now has support for a new pinch gesture that will let users easily switch between the Month and Day view. The Albums tab, on the other hand, has received a new 4:3 layout and new settings to sort your photos.
The animation engine in EMUI 11 has also received some optimizations based on Huawei’s human factor research. EMUI 11 also includes support for a new feature called Live Icons, which adds a bunch of animated icons across the UI. These animated icons can be found in the notifications panel, in the stock Phone app, and other default Huawei apps like Huawei Notepad and Huawei Music. The MIUI 11 also includes a feature called Smart multi-window, which will let users adjust the size of floating windows and minimize them when they’re not in use. EMUI 11 brings a host of new and updated AI features for Huawei phones. The new AI features include Multi-screen collaboration 3.0, which will let users simultaneously control three phone apps on their PC, accept calls on a connected PC, and use the device as a document scanner. Huawei has also included a host of new privacy and security features in EMUI 11.