Despite all the setbacks, Huawei continues to form smartphones and push its new Google-less mobile ecosystem to its customers. Sadly, that ecosystem, led by its homegrown HarmonyOS 2.0 for smartphones, is thus far limited to dozens of devices in China only. That’s just a little fraction of the number of phones it already has within the wild. Its stop-gap solution is to bring a glimpse of HarmonyOS to those smartphones through a replacement EMUI 12 upgrade that’s coming soon.
EMUI has and can always be Huawei‘s custom experience built on top of Android. With its move far away from Android, however, this skin’s role has also subsided important. That said, Huawei does commit to continue supporting its existing Android phones, and it’s reassuring that it hasn’t given abreast of those just yet.
Unsurprisingly, EMUI 12 diverges significantly from the core Android aesthetic and leans toward visual consistency with HarmonyOS 2.0. It’s probably not a stretch to match this aesthetic to iOS, though, especially with a predominantly light minimalist design language. Even the instrument panel looks and seems like a nod to the old iOS panel that you can summon with a swipe up from any screen.
There are, of course, more functional features, most people who tie Huawei phones closer to the company’s device ecosystem. New MatePad and MateBook buttons, for instance, allow you to access some phone features from those devices. A replacement Distributed filing system also promises instant wireless access to your phone’s files from a Huawei MateBook laptop.
This is probably exciting news for Huawei phone owners who feared being abandoned in light of the HarmonyOS push. That said, Huawei hasn’t yet revealed when EMUI 12 will roll out and which phones, though which will presumably be made available to global handsets that won’t be getting HarmonyOS 2.0 anyway.