Oppo Find X5 Pro Camera unibody ceramic frame close up. What does this mean for Huawei and its Harmony OS platform though? After all, Harmony OS supports APKs in order to run Android apps. Well, Huawei executive Wang Chenglu told the state-affiliated Global Times outlet that the new format wouldn’t affect the Harmony OS user experience or hamper development. “The AAB format is essentially similar to Harmony’s Atomic Service,” Chenglu told the outlet. The firm previously described the Atomic Service as “future-oriented user applications” in Harmony OS that are “installation-free” and provide a specific function.
The transition from APKs to Android App Bundles appears to be being minimised by Huawei. However, does it work with the new format? When Google stated that Android App Bundles (AAB) would replace the APK format a few weeks ago, it made a significant change to Android. Although current apps can still utilise APKs for the time being, all new apps uploaded to the Play Store starting in August must use the new format.
It’s unclear whether Huawei’s Harmony OS and HMS/Android platforms support Android App Bundles, although documentation seems to suggest the App Gallery supports the format. We’ve asked Huawei to clarify support and will update the article if/when the firm gets back to us. We hope the Chinese brand is working on support if AABs aren’t compatible already, as we could see a wider app gap between Huawei and Google as new apps are released.
Nevertheless, it seems like the new format could make life a little tougher for other third-party app stores and repositories too. Developers will need to manually export their app bundles as APKs if they want their app to appear on alternative stores. This is a double-edged sword, as developers get more control over where their app appears, but it does introduce a bit of friction if you want to support more than just the Play Store.