With Huawei effectively blocking the use of Google services and infrastructure, the company has taken steps to replace Google Maps on its hardware by forming a deal with TomTom to provide maps, navigation, and traffic data to Huawei apps.
Reuters reports that Huawei is entering into this partnership with TomTom as the Netherlands-based mapping tech company — thus side-stepping the bans on working with US firms. TomTom will make routing, live traffic data and software available to the Chinese smartphone manufacturer on smartphones and tablets.
TomTom spokesman Remco Meerstra confirmed to Reuters that the deal had been concluded some time ago but that the company had not made it public. This comes as TomTom announced plans to move away from making navigation hardware and will focus more on delivering software services — making this a significant step for TomTom and Huawei.
Although TomTom doesn’t quite match Google Maps ‘ global coverage and update speed, having a vital part of it filled by a dedicated navigation and mapping firm is one step that could satisfy potential global smartphone buyers from Huawei. There’s no denying the value of using Google’s app outside of China, but strong replacements might potentially make a huge difference— even more so if Western audiences recognize them.
It’s unclear when we can see TomTom pre-installed on Huawei devices, but we’re sure that an OTA software update could easily add this. The bigger question remains whether people are prepared to move daily travel from Google Maps to TomTom.