Comparison of HarmonyOS 4.2 and Pure HarmonyOS Next: The Best Is Yet To Come

HarmonyOS Next has finally been unveiled at HDC 2024, and we now have a more comprehensive understanding of some of the system features of HarmonyOS Next. However, it’s important to note that the current Next version is only available as a limited beta release for developers using specific models. Therefore, for ordinary consumers, they will have to wait until the release of the Mate70 to gradually experience the Next version.

Nevertheless, some developers have already posted videos of their usage of Next online. In this article, we will introduce the features of Next and the differences from the existing HarmonyOS 4.2 version based on the videos available online. It should be clarified that the version number of the currently released HarmonyOS Next beta is, which still differs from the final official release.

Key highlights of the beta version compared to the 4.2 version:

  • Lower system background memory usage, smoother app operation, and power saving
  • Completely refreshed UI visual experience, with comprehensive optimization of animation effects
  • The overall experience of apps on the Next version is superior to that of Android versions

Lower System Memory Usage

HarmonyOS Next adopts a tombstone mechanism similar to iOS, where only the currently used app occupies the CPU, and background apps only occupy memory. This reduces phone heating, makes app operation smoother, and saves power. This mechanism also lowers the hardware requirements, allowing previous phone models to run the HarmonyOS Next system smoothly.

Redesigned UI and Animation Effects

The UI has also undergone changes, with a significant visual experience transformation, almost all operations featuring timely dynamic background blur.The lock screen interface has changed, with time and other information more prominent, bold and enlarged key text, and more apparent content hierarchy.

The control center has undergone a major overhaul, with a design featuring large rounded corners, Gaussian blur, and a frosted glass texture. The instant the control center is pulled down, there is a gradually blurring animation effect, and an upward rebound effect when it reaches the bottom. The overall icons are also more centered, with a narrower layout than before.The system icons have been redesigned, with a more minimalist and flat overall style. The system UI colors have also shifted from a unified color to unique color combinations for each app.

However, it should be noted that this is only the beta version, and the light field effect (i.e., the glowing shadow effect around app icons) in the official promotional video is not yet enabled in the current beta version. It is expected that there will be more changes in system UI and animations after the official release.

Smoother Experience of Apps Compared to Android Versions

Many apps on the Next version of AppGallery are already available, such as WPS, Alipay, Meituan, Weibo, and other popular apps in China (except for WeChat, which is still work in progress). Compared to the same apps’ Android versions, the overall style is more minimalist (of course, some are due to the system modules not being fully developed yet), and the smoothness is also higher, whether it’s content loading speed or screen scrolling smoothness, both of which are higher than the Android versions.

Some features will be released with the official version

Some features mentioned in the HarmonyOS Next launch have not yet been experienced in the beta version, such as the Xiaoyi AI intelligent agent driven by the PanGu 5.0 large model, some richer animation effects, and more powerful cross-platform super terminal collaboration, among other features that already exist in HarmonyOS 4.2. There was also no specific mention of how HarmonyOS Next will run and communicate better on devices of different sizes and types, such as PCs, tablets, and wearables.

We have reason to believe that as the current development of apps continues to improve and more and more apps join, when HarmonyOS Next is officially released, with the fully self-developed HarmonyOS underlying architecture, the Harmony Cangjie development language, and the next-generation Kirin chip, the native HarmonyOS system will undoubtedly become one of the best cross-platform systems in the world, if not the only one!

More details will be reported in the future!