HERE WeGo maps and navigation is now available on the Huawei AppGallery
It’s almost a year since the U.S. Government placed specific restrictions on Huawei, preventing it from engaging commercially with any U.S.-based company. A grave and perhaps the most damaging consequence of this was that Google had to revoke Huawei’s license to use Android. Therefore, new Huawei and Honor phones or tablets are shipped without GMS (Google Mobile Services) and cannot run Google apps like Search, Maps, Gmail, etc. and most importantly – the Google Play Store. Huawei now offers AppGallery as an alternative to the Google Play Store and although the number of apps on the former is relatively much smaller, new vendors are joining at a steady and assuring rate. Now, Huawei has added HERE WeGo maps to the AppGallery as a viable alternative to Google Maps.
If the name “HERE WeGo” rings a bell but you can’t really recall, here’s a refresher. HERE Maps was released on the Windows Phone platform back in 2012 after a rebranding from Nokia Maps, which itself was a rebranding of OVI Maps. Nokia first introduced the OVI Maps service as a beta for Symbian S60v3 and Windows Mobile 5 platforms in 2007 while the first stable version was launched in May 2008 as a service bundled with Nokia phones. The same year, Google also released the first commercial Android device along with Google Maps as an included service.
However, HERE has a much older legacy than Google Maps. Owned by Nokia since 2007, HERE was the amalgamation of 1985-born GIS provider NAVTEQ and a German start-up Gate5, which originally developed a navigation software called “smart2go.” HERE Technologies was born at Nokia as Nokia HERE.
The past decade was very eventful for Nokia and other major events sidetracked its focus on HERE. In the meantime, the dwindling share of Windows Mobile inspired the company to launch mobile apps for both Android and iOS. And that’s how the HERE WeGo app for Android came into existence in 2014. In 2015, HERE was sold off to a consortium of carmakers including Audi, Daimler, BMW for in-car navigation and others joined the clique of investors in the years to come.
So, it’s clear that HERE WeGo isn’t really a new app and has a large number of years of experience up its sleeve. With NAVTEQ’s acumen in GIS and the years of experience at Nokia and with several automakers allowed the company to forge a collection of “three-dimensional maps that grow upwards, breathing with layers of information and insights.” It has also devoted a great share of its energy to autonomous driving.
Google’s monopoly over the smartphone operating system segment has allowed it to ship Google Maps as the default navigation app on Android devices. More importantly, HERE is a company that specializes in navigation services. Hence, the new venture between Huawei and HERE WeGO could translate to good fortune for not just the two companies but also users who want to buy Huawei phones but cannot due to the uncertainty about reliable services like Google Maps.