EMUI 3.0 vs. MIUI V6
Huawei's skin has long been reviewed as a MIUI clone, which used to be a fitting description. With the 3.0 iteration of EMUI, Huawei moves towards flat design just like MIUI does in version 6. Did Huawei's designers still copy MIUI designs or did they find inspiration somewhere else?
History of EMUI
Huawei (and it's subsidiary brand Honor) includes their Emotion UI (EMUI) skin on all of it's phones. EMUI is one of the newest Android skins, so one wonders how stable and consistent all it's elements are. EMUI was first presented to the public in 2012, and it looked like this:
EMUI 1.0 on the Ascend P1.
Oddly enough, the launch of EMUI wasn't pared the the launch of a new (flagship) phone, but it was pushed as an update to Huawei's flagship device the Ascend P1, which was already out on the market. Before the EMUI update, the Ascend P1 ran an almost stock version of Android 4.0. EMUI 1.0 was also based on Android 4.0. Some noteable features of EMUI 1.0 include a launcher without app drawer (iOS/MIUI style), theme support and a proprietary lockscreen. Besides the Ascend P1, the Ascend Y300, a popular budget phone, and the mid-range Ascend G510 ran EMUI 1.0. This was later updated to EMUI 1.2 and 1.3.
On of the first videos of EMUI in action.
Spring 2013 marked the launch of the Ascend P6, Huawei's flagship device for 2013. Keeping up with Huawei's tradition, the new flagship didn't include an all new EMUI version, it ran EMUI 1.6, based on Android 4.2.
EMUI 1.6 on the Ascend P6. Source: HuaweiBlog.de
EMUI 2.0 followed later that year, and was based on Android 4.4. New functionality include smart dialing (T9 contacts search), support for gestures to interact with the phone (flip to mute) and a power saving manager. The Ascend P6 was updated to EMUI 2.0, and Huawei's 2014's flagship phone, the Ascend P7 launched with EMUI 2.3. What also changed in EMUI 2.0 was the design, with less skeumorphism and more... MIUI.
Right at the end of 2014, Huawei released EMUI 3.0 as an update for the Ascend P7. EMUI 3.0 features an entirely new design, containing almost solely flat elements, thin icons and gaussian blur effect. In spring 2015, Huawei's new flagship phone, the Ascend P8 was presented, running EMUI 3.1.
New features in EMUI 3.1 compared to EMUI 3.0 are a enhanced battery saving feature which can kill battery draining apps automatically, and support for 'knuckle gestures', such as tapping the screen with your knuckle to make a screenshot.
Below are some screenshots to compare how EMUI and MIUI present different functionality. On the left is EMUI 3.0, on the right MIUI V5.
After comparison it seems like Huawei has taken a bit more of it's own design direction. Featurewise, EMUI still is a clone of MIUI, but that's hardly a bad thing, especially how it handles app permissions and background apps. MIUI's features work almost flawless, the same can't be said about EMUI. Designwise, Xiaomi seems to have stopped caring at all and just go full out cloning iOS.