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(Pocket-lint) - Huawei has reached a deal with TomTom to use its maps and services on smartphones, having been blacklisted months ago from working with Google. 

This partnership will mean Huawei can use TomTom maps and navigation on its own custom operating system. Perhaps even on the P40 series phones launching soon. 

Of course, this is one more development in the long-standing US blacklist which has prevented the Chinese phone maker from working with Google. 

With Huawei unable to make use of Google's Play Services - which includes Google Maps - the phone giant has been forced to develop its own operating system, and rely on other third parties for essential services. 

As reported by Reuters, the deal between Huawei and TomTom was closed some time ago, but only now is it being made known to the public. 

For the consumer it means Huawei is clearly working hard on making its phones relevant to western markets, ensuring it's doing all it can to make it a viable alternative to Android and iOS devices. 

Huawei wouldn't be the first company to partner with TomTom. Apple, when launching its own Maps services, originally partnered with TomTom to build out its data and navigation too. 

While we don't know when the TomTom maps will first appear on any Huawei phone, the timing of the public statement suggests we may just see something soon. 

Huawei is expected to launch the P40 series phones, as well as an updated foldable Mate Xs, sometime in early Spring, so we may see it working for the first time on those devices. 

The manufacturer has also been building out its own app gallery, getting developers on board to make more applications available through its own channels, lessening the reliance on Google. 

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Whether this development is enough to make its smartphones relevant in 2020 is yet to be seen, but it appears the company is moving in the right direction. 

Writing by Cam Bunton.