Huawei goes with TomTom to power its own maps app and navigation services

While the trade battle between the United States and China may have de-escalated in recent days following both sides coming into some agreement, the effects it has had, especially on companies on either side of the conflict, might be felt for a long time.

Future buyers of devices from Huawei will likely find themselves using maps and navigation services powered by TomTom.

According to Reuters, the Dutch navigation and digital mapping company and the Chinese device maker entered into an agreement “some time ago” that will see the latter use the former’s “maps, traffic information and navigation software” in its own maps, navigation and other apps and services.

Since late May 2019, Huawei has been limited in its access to services it has relied upon over the years from its US-based partners thanks to new regulations in the US limiting American companies from supplying technology and other services to those from China that had been blacklisted by the government.

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The regulations, primarily seen as targeting Huawei and stopping it and the Chinese from dominating the rollout of 5G networks not just in the US but also around the world and slowing their march to global dominance, have seen the company’s US suppliers and partners awarded short-term 90-day licenses to allow them to continue trading.

The effect has been that while Huawei has been able to continue releasing budget devices that had already been in the pipeline before the orders putting Huawei in a trade blacklist came into effect as well as providing software updates to many more that it had already launched, it has been limited when it comes to new devices. Its hero device for the second half of 2019, the Huawei Mate 30, was the first device to be adversely affected by the standoff between the US and Chinese governments that had drawn in companies like Huawei and Google.

The Huawei Mate 30 shipped without the usual Google software (Google Mobile Services – the Google Play Store, Google Search and popular applications like the Chrome mobile browser, Google Maps, YouTube and others). The end result has been what many agree is world-class hardware being sabotaged by a sub-par overall software experience.

Huawei has been working to change this. The company is courting developers and constantly onboarding new apps to its AppGallery app store. It has even been pushing its own Huawei Mobile Services through the Play Store and AppGallery on its existing devices while bundling it on new ones. Its own take on Google’s Instant Apps is also here.

Last year, Huawei unveiled its own operating system, largely seen as its long-forecast Android alternative, but the company remains adamant that it is on the Android platform to stay and that Harmony OS, as it is known, will be for every other device in its ecosystem but smartphones. That is expected to change in the future.

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