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Huawei taps TomTom to help it navigate to a Google Maps alternative

The U.S. government’s decision in 2019 to blacklist Huawei over apparent national security concerns has left the Chinese tech giant with more challenges than it would like, including when it comes to selling its smartphones.

President Donald Trump’s move dropped a barrier between Huawei and Google that forced Huawei to start using an open-source version of the Android operating system. That might not sound so bad, until you learn that the platform doesn’t include any Google apps or services such as Maps, YouTube, Gmail, and Chrome.

Unable to add Google’s popular products to new phones such as the Mate 30 and upcoming P40, Huawei has been looking around for alternatives. On this front, it’s already had some success, with a recent Reuters report revealing that the Shenzhen-based tech company has inked a deal with Dutch mapping specialist TomTom.

The news outlet said that the partnership with TomTom means Huawei will now be able to use the company’s maps, traffic information, and navigation software to develop a variety of apps for its handsets.

A spokesperson for TomTom confirmed to Reuters that the pair secured the deal a while ago, but that it had chosen not to make an immediate public announcement about it.

Cash incentives for developers

In other Huawei efforts to ensure its upcoming phones remain an attractive purchasing option for customers around the world, it’s splashing the cash on developers to help it build an app ecosystem in a timely fashion.

At a special event in London last week, the tech company announced a fund worth 20 million British pounds (about $26 million) designed to encourage developers to create software for its AppGallery, an alternative to Google Play that works on the open-source Android platform.

The investment is part of a wider global strategy, with the London announcement a special event promising developers based in the United Kingdom and Ireland the chance to claim cash payouts for any eligible app uploaded to the AppGallery before January 31, 2020.

“We have announced our 20 million-pound investment plan to recognize and incentivize our partners so that jointly we can build an outstanding ecosystem together,” Huawei U.K. executive Anson Zhang said in a release.

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Trevor Mogg
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