The US has banned Chinese tech giant Huawei from sourcing any technology, including both hardware and software from any of the US companies. This forced Huawei to find alternatives and it found one in TomTom, the Dutch navigation and digital mapping company. As TomTom is based in the Netherlands, it doesn’t fall under the US government’s trade ban. This company, which was earlier into selling devices, sold its telematics division to solely focus on digital map-linked businesses.
Huawei was earlier using the Google Maps app for its Android phones, but after the ban was imposed last year, it was forced to develop its own navigation system. The US government has banned the Chinese company last year over concerns on national security claiming that the company has “close ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus”. Huawei retaliated by saying that the decision was based on “innuendo and mistaken assumptions”. Eric Xu, the company’s rotating chairman, in his New Year’s statement has said, “The US government’s campaign against Huawei is strategic and long-term.”
Thus, Huawei was looking for some other alternative and finally, it inked a deal with TomTom. Remco Meerstra, the TomTom spokesman said that the deal happened some time back but was not made public. Still, no details of the agreement have been provided by TomTom. But, one thing that is clear is that Huawei can use the maps, live traffic information, and software for its smartphones, provided by TomTom. It’s a big relief for Huawei who couldn’t use anything made by Google on its phones after the ban as Google is a US company.
Last year in August, there were reports that Huawei is trying to build its own navigation system by the name Map Kit, which can be used as a replacement for Google Maps. It was said back then that it will support augmented reality features and real-time traffic reports. But now, with this deal finalized with navigation specialists TomTom, it seems that it doesn’t require to go ahead with its in-house navigation system.
Huawei’s newest phones are still using the Android 10 system, but with no Google’s apps and services, which includes even Google Play Store, it’s difficult to sell these phones in geographies like Europe and Australia. However, with this new alliance with TomTom, things seem to finally go in favour of Huawei.
The company is also ready with a new open-source operating system called Harmony OS in case it is forced to ditch Android. This operating system will work on its smartphones, smartwatches, TVs, laptops etc.