EMUI

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Huawei EMUI
DeveloperHuawei
OS familyAOSP (Linux, Unix-like)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelFree software with proprietary components
Initial releaseDecember 30, 2012 (2012-12-30)
Latest releaseEMUI 14.2 / April 25, 2024 (2024-04-25),
Update methodFirmware over-the-air
Package managerHuawei AppGallery (2012-2024, both Global and China),
APK files, .app (since EMUI 12)
Platforms32 and 64-bit ARM
Kernel typeMultikernel, combination of Monolithic: modified Linux kernel; and HMOS TEE microkernel (since EMUI 12)
LicenseGNU General Public License v3,
Apache License 2.0,
Proprietary
Succeeded byHarmonyOS (HarmonyOS NEXT)
Official websiteconsumer.huawei.com/en/emui/

EMUI (formerly known as Emotion UI), It is an interface based on Android (operating system) developed by Chinese technology company Huawei. Used on the company's smartphones primarily globally .

Instead of Google Mobile Services, EMUI devices have used Huawei Mobile Services, such as the Huawei AppGallery, in January 2020 due to United States sanctions imposed during the trade war against China in May 2019. From Version 13 (2022), Huawei additionally bundled the HarmonyOS TEE microkernel with the Android system; this microkernel for example handled identity security features such as the fingerprint authentication.

History

On 30 July 2012, Huawei introduced Emotion UI 1.0, based on Android 4.0. It features a voice assistant app (only in Chinese), customizable homescreens and theme-switching. The company rolled out installation files for the Ascend P1 through their website. The company claims that it is "probably the world's most emotional system".

On 4 September 2014, the company announced EMUI 3.0, along with Ascend Mate 7 in the pre-IFA event in Berlin. The user interface was ever since called "EMUI" instead of "Emotion UI". In Mainland China, the release introduces the Huawei AppGallery application store; international markets continued to use Google Play.

In late 2015, Huawei introduced EMUI 4.0, based on Android Marshmallow. In 2016, EMUI 5.0 was introduced, based on Android Nougat. In 2017, Huawei introduced EMUI 8.0, based on Android Oreo; beginning with this release, the version number would now be aligned with that of the Android version from which it was derived.

Huawei unveiled EMUI 9.0, based on Android Pie, at IFA in 2018. Huawei stated a goal for the release to make EMUI more "simple", "enjoyable", and consistent; it included various usability tweaks, reorganized settings menus, dark mode, gesture navigation, and GPU Turbo 2.0. Beginning with EMUI 9.0.1, new Huawei devices ship with the company's EROFS file system for its system partitions, which is designed for higher performance in read-only settings on devices with limited resources. In July 2019, Huawei released EMUI 9.1

EMUI 10, based on Android 10, was announced 9 August 2019 at the Huawei Developer Conference. It features an updated interface with larger "magazine"-styled headings, new animations, colour accents inspired by painter Giorgio Morandi, and Android 10's system-wide dark mode support. Beginning 2020 due to United States sanctions against Huawei (which prohibit U.S.-based companies from doing business with the company), new EMUI smartphones sold internationally (beginning with the Mate 30) were no longer certified by Google, did not include support for Google Mobile Services (GMS) including Google Play, and were marketed as running EMUI with no reference to the Android trademark. These devices introduced the AppGallery and Huawei Mobile Services to international markets as an alternative to Google-provided software.

In 2020 alongside the P40, Huawei announced EMUI 10.1, which adds multi-window support, and the new first-party apps Celia and MeeTime. Huawei announced updates for some of its existing devices in June 2020. In September 2020, Huawei publicly announced HarmonyOS 2.0 support with OpenHarmony L3-L5 codebase branch for EMUI 11 updated smartphone devices as the company shifts towards HarmonyOS development. In December 2020, Huawei released the HarmonyOS 2.0 beta for the P30, P40 and P50, which iterates from EMUI 10.

From October 2021, Huawei planned to launch an upgrade bridge to EMUI 12 to older Huawei smartphone models gradually in the first half of 2022 in global markets while HarmonyOS 2 launched in domestic markets, thereby preparing EMUI's successor, HarmonyOS, for global markets in the following years.

EMUI 12 (2022) was the first EMUI version based on HarmonyOS 2 with a watered down OpenHarmony 2.1.0 core branch variant on top of AOSP base which featured its own distributed file sharing called Distributed File System that adapted with HarmonyOS-powered smart devices with smart TVs, smart speakers and other types of devices which was created from native (HDFS) HarmonyOS Distributed File System and could run native HarmonyOS Ability Package apps. EMUI 12 supported Large Folders that grouped similar apps in a large folder and named the folder for better organised management and discovery of apps.

The difference between running .app based apps on EMUI 12 and HarmonyOS was that EMUI 12 did not support Atomic Services and App Snippets in the form of interactive visual card based widgets. EMUI 12 also did not support HarmonyOS Multi-Device Task Viewer and had a watered-down Super Device user experience via Device+. The EMUI 12 update for older global versions of Huawei smartphones was based on Android 10.

On 20 October 2022, Huawei unveiled EMUI 13 on their official website. It inherited the main features unveiled with HarmonyOS 3, such as widgets that can be stacked on top of one another or folders that can be resized like Android widgets.

Independent Honor, MagicOS 8 with Android 14 reported on 21 July 2023 for delayed November launch, which was eventually launched on January 10, 2024.

HarmonyOS 4.0 was released on 4 August 2023. EMUI 14 was demonstrated on Mate 60 RS Ultimate Edition at MWC Barcelona 2024 via Huawei's booth, Barcelona, Spain on February 27, 2024. On, 5 March 2024, Huawei Germany announced the EMUI 14 beta program for 13 global smartphone models that comes with HarmonyOS 4 features. The rollout reportedly, is planned for summer, between June 6 till 25 2024 release on nine models along with Nova 11i models on July 3, 2024, also newer Huawei Mate 60 and P70 flagships bundled with the new software.

On April 25, 2024, Huawei rolled out EMUI 14.2 with no major new features such as AI features on HarmonyOS 4.2 Chinese variant, features system stability in Russia with countries planned to follow suit shortly.

Version history

Version Android/HarmonyOS history Year of release Last stable release
Emotion UI 1.x Android 2.3 - 4.3 2012 1.6
Emotion UI 2.x Android 4.2 - 4.4 2013 2.3
EMUI 3.x Android 4.4 - 5.1 2014 3.1
EMUI 4.x Android Marshmallow (6.x) 2015 4.1
EMUI 5.x Android Nougat (7.x) 2016 5.1
EMUI 8.x Android Oreo (8.x) 2017 8.2
EMUI 9.x
MagicUI 2.x
Android Pie (9) 2018 9.1
EMUI 10.x
MagicUI 3.x
Android 10 2019 10.1
EMUI 11.x
MagicUI 4.0
Android 10 2020 11.0
EMUI 12.x
MagicUI 5.2
Android 10 (for existing legacy devices), Android 11 (for devices that pre-shipped with EMUI 12) and HarmonyOS 2 (China) microkernel (OpenHarmony 2.1.0 L3-L5 Dual Frame)

2021 12.0
EMUI 13.x Based on HarmonyOS 3 (OpenHarmony 3.1 L3-L5), Android version: Android 12 2022 13.1
EMUI 14.x Based on HarmonyOS 4 (OpenHarmony 3.2 L3-L5), Android version: Android 12 2024 14.2

Reception

Earlier versions of EMUI have been criticized for placing all app icons on the home screen, with some reviewers saying that it tries to imitate Apple's iOS. The app drawer has been brought back as an option in EMUI 5.0. PC Magazine's Adam Smith criticized EMUI for being bloated with duplicate apps and the settings menus being difficult to navigate. EMUI lacks support of AptX and SBC-XQ, which limits audio quality on Huawei devices.

References

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