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article imageHuawei to have its own mapping service Map Kit

By Ken Hanly     Aug 18, 2019 in Technology
The state-run news outlet China Daily claims Huawei is developing a mapping service. The service is apparently designed for software developers. Apps that offer navigation or ride-hailing services could use Huawei technology instead of making their own.
The service is called Map Kit
Huawei executive, Zhang Pingan said: "Huawei Map Kit will be available in 40 languages. It will offer real-time traffic conditions and a highly sophisticated navigation system which can recognize a car changing lanes. It will also support augmented-reality mapping." It is not clear exactly what "augmented reality mapping'' is.
The report does not give many clues as to where Huawei will get its mapping data. The report says Map Kit will be connected to local mapping services.
One source claimed that Huawei would partner with Yandex a Russian Internet Service giant that already provides maps and mapping services. The director general of a telecom industry association said that China has telecom base stations that can provide complementing information to satellite positioning data.
The China Daily source also claims that Huawei will partner with Booking Holdings. However Booking relies on Google Maps for its online travels service so probably it will be only a customer rather than providing data. No doubt Google would not supply data for Huawei or it could violate US trade restrictions.
Maps development is expensive and Google is the one big success
Google Maps was launched way back in 2005 and Google (Alphabet) has invested heavily ever since. This included buying Waze for $996 million in 2013. Google has its own fleet of cars driving up and down streets in many countries to help create maps.
Apple has tried its hands at maps since 2012 but it botched it launch and has been playing catchup to Google. Nokia also offered maps for a number of years before selling out to a consortium of German auto makers for more than $3 billion in 2015. It is used in Microsoft's Bing Maps.
The report claims the Map Kit will be unveiled this October, will cover 150 “countries and regions,” and will be available in 40 languages.
US restrictions on trade with Huawei
A Huawei official notes the negative effect US bans have hand on sales: "Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, said the US government restrictions reduce the annual shipment forecast of its smartphones from about 300 million units to around 240 million units in 2019."
For now Huawei is still using Android as an operating system for its phones but it is not clear how long it will be able to continue to do so. This is encouraging Huwei to develop its own operating system Harmony OS. So far it has been released for use in a smart TV but perhaps it could be modified for use in its phones if necessary should Android be no longer available.
More about Huawei, mapping services, Map Kit
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