Huawei Strikes Deal With TomTom to Develop Google Maps Alternative

Jan 20, 2020
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Huawei' tiff with the US government doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon, rendering the company unable to do business with companies based in the country, one of which happens to be Google. Although Huawei can still run an open-source version of Android on their devices, it can't ship new devices with services such as the Google Play Store.

The company is working hard on developing an alternate app ecosystem centered around its App Gallery. It has even set aside a significant amount of money to get developers on board. It is working on alternatives for Google applications, and today, we get to see its Google Maps equivalent.

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According to a report by Reuters, Huawei has struck a deal with Dutch-based TomTom maps to provide it with the company’s maps, traffic information and navigation software to develop apps for its smartphones. TomTom spokesman Remco Meerstra said the deal had been closed some time ago but was not made public.

Unlike Google Maps, TomTom Maps is based on a subscription-based model and even had a dedicated piece of hardware. You get a flying interface with an oblique bird's-eye view of the road, as well as a direct-overhead map view. The app even provides visual and spoken directions on how to drive to the specified destination.

It'll be interesting to see how many of these features make it to the version of TomTom maps that'll run on Huawei devices. Chances are, TomTom will still retain some of the premium features and let Huawei run a watered-down version of its application.

We should get to know more about Huawei's alternatives to Google apps in the coming weeks. A company spokesperson said last year that they'd be up and running by December 2019. There is a lot of ground to cover and it is virtually impossible to create a YouTube or Gmail equivalent at this point in time.

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