With Huawei basically blocked from using Google services and infrastructure, the firm has taken steps to replace Google Maps on its hardware by signing a partnership with TomTom to provide maps, navigation, and traffic data to Huawei apps.

Reuters reports that Huawei is entering this partnership with TomTom as the mapping tech company is based in the Netherlands — therefore side-stepping the bans on working with US firms. TomTom will provide the Chinese smartphone manufacturer with mapping, live traffic data, and software on smartphones and tablets.

TomTom spokesman Remco Meerstra confirmed to Reuters that the deal had been closed some time ago but had not been made public by the company. This comes as TomTom unveiled plans to move away from making navigation hardware and will focus more heavily on offering software services — making this a substantial step for TomTom and Huawei.

While TomTom doesn’t quite match the global coverage and update speed of Google Maps, having a vital portion of it filled by a dedicated navigation and mapping firm is one step that might appease potential global Huawei smartphone buyers. There is no denying the importance of Google app access outside of China but solid replacements could potentially make a huge difference — even more so if they are recognizable by Western audiences.

It’s unclear when we may see TomTom pre-installed on Huawei devices but we are sure that this could be easily added by way of an OTA software update. The bigger question remains if people are prepared to switch from Google Maps to TomTom for daily navigation.

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