When the U.S. government slapped a trade ban on U.S. companies working with Huawei, Google decided to cut off the Chinese company from further Android updates. In an instant, Google created a direct rival as Huawei is now forced to go alone and develop its own mobile ecosystem. Part of that ecosystem will be a Google Maps rival called Map Kit.
At least, that’s according to a report from China Daily. It seems Huawei is currently developing Map Kit. However, there are some important caveats to consider. Firstly, it is wholly possible (and indeed likely) that Huawei was developing the solution before the action taken by the United States.
Secondly, it seems Map Kit is aimed at the company’s developer partners and not consumers. Dev’s will be able to leverage the underlying technology to create mapping experiences for their customers.
In other words, Map Kit would directly rival Google Maps in the development world but not necessarily in the consumer world.
The report suggests Huawei has already tied up some major partners to its mapping solution. Among them are Yandex and Booking.com parent Booking Holdings. If you use the latter service, you will know hotel locations are currently handled by a Google Maps plugin.
Huawei says other partners will be on board soon, while the company also plans to use the technology in regions where Google has less of a presence. Those regions including Eastern Europe and Africa, where Huawei has more of a foothold than Google.
China Daily paraphrases Huawei’s Zhang Pingan, president of cloud services at Huawei’s consumer business group:
“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.”