Huawei Turns Its Smartwatches Into Car Keys, Sanctions Ruin the Fun

Once one of the leading companies in the phone market, Huawei is now struggling to remain relevant outside China.
Huawei Watch GT 3 6 photos
Photo: Huawei
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The sanctions announced by the United States in mid-May 2019 blocked Huawei from using software and hardware from American firms, with the company eventually being forced to sell its products with in-house operating systems in all international markets.

In China, however, Huawei continues to be a technology leader, and this is why the company is still pouring millions of dollars into new features and systems that come in handy to local customers.

Most recently, the tech behemoth has started shipping a software update that allows some of its smartwatches to double as digital car keys, something that has been around in the United States for nearly a year.

In theory, Huawei’s update is big news for the car industry, but in practice, the company’s effort is pretty much a waste of time.

First and foremost, the update is only aimed at two smartwatches, namely the Huawei Watch GT 3 and the Watch GT Runner. There’s no word if more smartwatches are supposed to get the digital car key support for now.

Then, the feature is only live in China, as the international versions of the two watches are still on a different HarmonyOS firmware version that doesn’t include the functionality.

And third, bringing this feature to other regions wouldn’t even make sense anyway, as the digital car key support on Huawei smartwatches is only available with a single car model, and that’s the AITO M5. Huawei itself was involved in the development of this vehicle, as it provided the software platform to power its smart capabilities, so it’s not a surprise that the smartwatches and the AITO M5 are a perfect match.

Of course, this car is exclusively available for Chinese customers, so in many ways, an otherwise great Huawei feature looks to be just a waste of time because of the same international sanctions the company has to deal with.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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