Hot on the heels of the Chinese company’s announcement of their proprietary operating system, Huawei has stated that they are developing a navigation application that aims to rival Google maps for navigation dominance in the smartphone space. Combining the standard package of mapping software alongside uses like real-time traffic integration and route-finding, Huawei’s system also includes something called “augmented reality mapping.” Whether this is similar to AR with regards to maps remains to be seen.
Competing with Google has its own challenges. The American company acquired one of its fiercest competitors (Waze) in 2013. Since then has improved its mapping capabilities through autonomous cars that automatically update maps in multiple areas of the world. Apple Maps has been playing catch-up to Google ever since Apple’s own botched launching of its application. Recently Apple has been gaining traction, replacing the stock maps from Open Maps and TomTom with their proprietary versions.
Replacement Critical for Independent Operation
Huawei’s response is not unexpected since tensions between the US and Huawei’s home country of China have led to problems with trade agreements between Huawei and their primary OS provider, Google. While Huawei continues to run Android on most of their phones, their recent announcement of their own operating system was taken as a step towards freeing themselves from dependence on American-based OS manufacturers.
The recently unveiled operating system, named HarmonyOS, is slated to start running on Huawei smartphones, although no one within the company is willing to set an exact date on when it will begin to be featured on handsets. However, the CEO of Huawei stated that the company could potentially switch phones that have been designed to run with Android out into HarmonyOS with minimal difficulty. If the country loses the ability to use Android, then it would be a matter of days before Huawei handsets would be using the company’s own OS. American concerns about Huawei’s tactics on collecting information and potentially sharing it with the Chinese government are likely to arise as a direct result of this OS rollout occurring.