Huawei strikes deal to use TomTom maps on its smartphones after being cut off from Google

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Huawei has struck a deal with the navigation and digital mapping firm TomTom to use the company’s maps and services on its smartphones.

Huawei has been cut off from Google — upon whose Android operating system and apps its international products relied — amid a trade war between the US and China.

The ban, implemented in May, came after it was alleged that the firm has close ties with the Chinese government and represents a threat to US national security. 

Dutch firm TomTom provides a non-US partner that can furnish navigation software, maps and traffic information as Huawei develops its own suite of apps.

The announcement follows recent rumours that Huawei’s upcoming premiere smartphone offering — the P40 — will ship in March 2020 without Google software. 

 

The deal with TomTom is the latest in Huawei’s adjustments to its loss of access to Google product like its official android operating system and apps like Google Maps.

The firm — which is accused of having close ties to the Chinese government — was effectively blocked from the US last year by President Donald Trump’s administration, who cited concerns over national security.

Huawei is now placed on the US government’s ‘Entity List’, meaning that American firms are not permitted to do business with the Chinese firm unless they first procure a special licence.  

Following the ban in the US, Huawei has been forced to develop its own operating system for smartphones — dubbed HarmonyOS — and work on its own suite of native core apps to replace the so-called Google Media Service.

This bundle included such products as Gmail, Google Drive, Maps, Navigation, Pay and YouTube.

According to TomTom spokesperson Remco Meerstra, the deal with Huawei was finalised some time ago.

However, the two tech companies have only just decided to make the association be known publicly.

Mr Meerstra declined to provide more information on the specifics of the deal, Reuters reported.

On the other side of the deal, the agreement is the latest in TomTom’s move away from selling physical devices to instead providing software services. 

Last year, the Dutch company sold its telematics division to the Japanese tyre and vehicle part manufacturer Bridgestone, who are looking to provide a the real-time car fleet-tracking service.

The move was reportedly intended to free up the firm to focus on its digital map-linked businesses.  

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