Huawei is developing its own mapping service called Map Kit, China Daily reports, and this may be an alternative to Google Maps. A catch to it though is that the service is not exactly meant for consumers. Alternatively, the idea is to give developers tools to build new applications based on its mapping capabilities.
This news comes shortly after unveiling its potential Android replacement, HarmonyOS, and now Huawei seems to be working on a Google Maps alternative with plans to unveil it in October.
The service will connect to local mapping services covering 150 countries and regions, and support 40 different languages, said the report by China Daily. Other rumored features include real-time traffic conditions, sophisticated navigation capabilities, and augmented reality mapping.
Yandex commonly referred to as the ‘Russian Google‘ and Booking.com parent Booking Holdings are reported to already be on board for Map Kit.
Since President Trump blacklisted Huawei back in May, its ability to access Google’s services was threatened with the fact that Google banned the company from using its Android OS.
This came as a result of US lawmakers’ concerns about Huawei’s tight relationship with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used for spying. Although Trump has since said the ban will be eased,
Since then, Huawei has been looking into options to decrease its reliance on Google and its services. We can all agree that HarmonyOS and Map Kit can be viewed as a direct response to these circumstances, as Huawei could be barred from using Google apps on new Android phones in the event of a more permanent ban. The firm would also encounter difficulties in using Google services on a HarmonyOS device, meaning an in-house solution is a warranted decision.
Huawei’s HarmonyOS which was announced last week was one step towards independence for the Chinese tech giant, and now Map Kit may be another step further.
Another obvious reason why Huawei is developing its own mapping system is that a bunch of apps these days depend on location-based services. A recent estimate given by Huawei cloud services boss Zhang Pingan, revealed that nearly 50 percent of apps need mapping capabilities to run properly.
However, Map Kit will not be the only Google Maps alternative around as we’ve also got Bing Maps, HERE WeGo, and Apple Maps.