Huawei Partners with TomTom to Replace Google Maps

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated September 23, 2021

Huawei is gradually but decisively cutting its umbilical cord from Android and Google, pushing for the accelerated growth of its own “Mobile Services”, the adoption of its own “HarmonyOS”, and the establishment of “Quick Apps”. The moves of the Chinese tech giant seem to be taking place in a burst-like rate, and the latest one is a partnership with TomTom who will provide them with mapping services. Since Huawei remains barred from using Google’s proprietary apps, Huawei owners will soon have to say goodbye to Google Maps, so something had to be done on that part too.

This is a crucial development and a key move from Huawei, putting Google and the Trump administration in an increasingly worse position. TomTom will reportedly offer its maps and services in the form of a smartphone app for Huawei phones. The app will offer navigation help as well as live traffic information. As Remco Meerstra of TomTom told the press, the deal had been closed quite some time ago, but it has just now been made public. No further details were disclosed just yet, but it is clear that TomTom is equally excited about this deal, seeing it as “Manna from Heaven”.

The Amsterdam-based mapping expert was thriving in the field since 1991, selling GPS devices and relevant software solutions. When Google Android was introduced in 2008 however, everything was shaken for GPS device makers. People could use their smartphones to navigate around all of a sudden, so no one needed to pay for a dedicated device. TomTom’s stock price fell from EUR 95 in November 2007 down to EUR 4 in February 2009. Since then, the company tried to shift its focus towards software services and even sold its telematics division to Bridgestone last year. Thus, the Huawei partnership comes at a time when TomTom needed it the most.

For the average consumer, this is great news no matter whether you are planning to buy a Huawei device or not. The competition is back in the game, with TomTom now going against Google Maps, and Huawei breaking outside the bubble of the core Android ecosystem. Yes, fragmentation isn’t always to the benefit of the end-user, but in this case, we’re seeing Huawei getting confident and pushing its solutions not as alternatives but as the better choice. iPhones are great because everything on them is designed and closely controlled by Apple. Huawei is definitely starting to realize the benefits of this approach, even if it came through a process that they weren’t 100% prepared to undergo.

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