Map Kit: Huawei may launch its own mapping service in October

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on Aug 16 2019
Map Kit: Huawei may launch its own mapping service in October

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HIGHLIGHTS

Huawei may unveil its own mapping service in October.

Called Map Kit, the service is said to even recognise a car changing lanes.

It is also touted to support augmented-reality mapping.

After the US put business sanctions with American firms on hold, Huawei started to look for an alternative for Android OS for its phones. Last week, the Chinese tech giant unveiled HarmonyOS, which is referred to as Hongmeng OS in China. One of the significant apps in the Android OS is Maps, and since Huawei users won‘t be able to use any Google-developed operating system, it will have to have an app of its own that would help Huawei (and Honor) phone users navigate easier. Keeping this in mind, the Shenzhen-based company is said to be developing its own mapping service in the coming months. 

According to China Daily, Huawei is planning to unveil its own mapping service in October. The service, which will reportedly be known as Map Kit, will not be directly for consumer use, but is said to be designed to encourage software developers to make applications based on the app’s mapping capabilities. The publication says that Map Kit will be connected to local mapping services as well as cover 150 countries and regions. The US travel aggregator Booking Holdings is one of the several software companies that are partnering with Huawei on the mapping service, the publication cited a source familiar with the matter, as saying.

Zhang Pingan, President of Cloud Services at Huawei's Consumer Business Group, has reportedly said that more than 50 percent of mobile applications are location-based services relying on mapping capabilities. Further, it is being reported that the Huawei Map Kit will be available in 40 languages. Apart from the general functionalities that are provided by such apps, Map Kit will also be offering real-time traffic conditions and a highly sophisticated navigation system which can even recognise a car changing lanes. It will also support augmented-reality mapping, China Daily quoted Zhang as saying. However, the details of this capability is not known as of now.

According to Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research, the biggest advantage of HarmonyOS is its architecture. “Huawei has taken a clever approach in developing the Harmony OS architecture. It has learned from current OS architectures in the devices market and their shortcomings, for example Android's monolithic kernel and Apple’s fragmented OS approach. It is proposing replacing these with a distributed, flexible micro-kernel architecture,” he said. He also said that the developers can take advantage of the scalability of the micro-kernel architecture. 

Along with a new IDE (Integrated Development Environment), Huawei will allow developers to develop applications just once and port to multiple devices, ranging from a smartphone to a smartwatch to TVs, PCs, Tablets and even car dashboards. With Harmony OS, Huawei aims to support HTML5, Linux and even Android-based applications. “However, it won’t be easy for Huawei to break the duopoly of Apple and Google,” Shah added.

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