We all know the Huawei saga and the issues they are having with the US government all too well and although their are differing opinions on how just it is Huawei are looking to move on, signing a deal with TomTom to provide mapping services for their smartphones running Harmony OS.
Obviously due to being placed on the US Entity List Huawei are unable to use any US-made products on their devices which rules out everything Google-related, including of course Google Maps. A device without any mapping service in 2020 would be extremely lacking and Huawei have recognised this.
Although there are open source options such as OpenMaps Hauwei have decided to opt for a more polished option with TomTom. TomTom have switched their focus in recent times from hardware to providing software solutions — something Huawei is of course in the market for. Based in the Netherlands, TomTom is not subject to the US Entity List and can thus do business with Huawei without any legal ramifications.
The deal which was inked “some time ago” but has only just now been made public gives Huawei access to TomTom’s maps, traffic information and navigation software “to develop apps for its smartphones”. From that wording it seems that Huawei will create their own apps but use TomTom data as the back end for their apps pulling data required for their new mapping apps from TomTom’s trove of mapping information.
Huawei is expected to launch the P40 in March this year and you can expect TomTom data to be featured on the devices. It will be interesting to see how Huawei go with building their own apps with TomTom’s data and how it compares to Google Maps, everyone’s go-to for mapping services these days.
It is unlikely we will see the P40 here given the lack of Google services on the device but that won’t stop many users from importing the device. The P40 is expected to once again be at the top of the smartphone photography pile — a real pity that it cannot run Google services and will most likely not land here.