Huawei’s homegrown mobile software store has scored Intel-owned mobility app Moovit.
Founded in 2012 and acquired by Intel earlier this year, Moovit deals in real-time public transportation information based on crowdsourced data and official APIs, allowing users to plan their journeys through the COVID-filled aluminium death tubes we once called “buses”. Since the acquisition, Moovit is now organised under Intel’s MobilEye subsidiary.
Moovit claims to be the world’s largest mobility app, with 865 million users across 106 countries. Crucially, it fills a gap for Huawei, which has been cut off from Google’s proprietary Android services since last year. Those with recent HMS-based (Huawei Mobile Services) devices cannot, for example, use Google Maps.
Huawei’s strategy for developing the AppGallery has focused on attracting alternatives to major American apps, while also replacing functionality found in Google Mobile Services (GMS) via third-party applications. HERE WeGo (formerly Nokia’s Here Maps) replaced Google Maps, for example, and Bolt has served as an alternative to Uber.
Greasing the wheels of this process is a generous array of incentives, including allowing developers to keep a larger share of app sales income, and a $1bn package of financing.
But the question remains whether this will be enough. The Google Play Store has the advantage of being a first-mover. And then there’s Huawei’s image problem, which means that no amount of money will be enough to tempt some developers, lest they earn the ire of the US government.
For what it’s worth, Moovit (like Mobileye) is based in Israel. Separately, Intel has managed to win waivers from the US government allowing it to continue trading with Huawei in several key product categories, including processors. ®