In mid-2024, Huawei announced their plan to release HarmonyOS Next (version 5). Recent details have emerged revealing that it will no longer support APK apps from Android.
HarmonyOS is essentially a forked version of the Android operating system, customized by Huawei. However, it seems that Huawei is prepared to break away from Android, at least in China.
Previously, HarmonyOS supported two types of apps: APK apps from Android and its own HarmonyOS apps (with the .app file extension known as HarmonyOS Ability Package or HAP, developed using the supercharged TypeScript-based ArkTS language). The change in HarmonyOS Next is the removal of support for APK files, exclusively focusing on HAP apps.
According to the South China Morning Post, several Chinese tech companies such as NetEase, JD.com, and Meituan have started recruiting employees with HAP app development experience. This indicates that Huawei is already signaling its intentions to these companies.
TLDR: Huawei’s upcoming HarmonyOS Next version will no longer support APK apps from Android and will exclusively focus on HarmonyOS Ability Package (HAP) apps. This change has prompted Chinese tech companies to begin recruiting employees with HAP app development experience.