Nokia has introduced a beta version of their flagship mapping platform “HERE Maps” for Android devices, and is expected to bring it to iOS in 2015.
Nokia has been out of the handset business for several months now since the deal with Microsoft was finalized, and the company took over all of Nokia’s handset business in the mobile space. However, that doesn’t mean that the company can’t have a major impact on the mobile picture. Their mobile application for mapping – which is called HERE Maps, and competes largely with Google Maps, and Apple’s Map application – works to deliver a more finely-tuned user experience than previous versions.
Today, Nokia released the beta to the public and is allowing anyone who has an Android phone to download the app. The company expects that in 2015 – likely in the first quarter – Nokia will expand that and bring HERE Maps to iOS. HERE Maps added 18 countries to the list of countries that the mapping service currently covers – which means 118 countries are now available for mapping instructions – like directions, and satellite views. Nokia also redesigned the website HERE.com in addition to the redesign that took place on the Android app.
Some of the features that are included in the newly updated app that’s available for Android are things like voice-guided navigation, public transit information, as well as offline map use. Additionally, there were a lot of updates brought to the application to ensure that the app is less-buggy and functions more effectively from start to finish.
Regarding that 2015 return to iOS devices the company noted that “Following the positive reviews of Here for Android, a lot of people have expressed their interest in an iOS version of our app. We really appreciate this interest and demand. Our iOS app development team is working hard on this, and we plan to officially launch HERE for iOS in early 2015.”
Perhaps the most interesting feature about the new HERE application is the fact that Nokia is really working to focus on the expanded countries, noting a serious interest in tapping markets and countries that may not have been reached yet by Google. That’s something that would serve the long-term interests of Nokia, while expanding the app traditionally here in the United States.
The navigation abilities that the device has really makes the app hard to compare to, and something that could really have a large impact on the mapping space as it pertains to future success of apps like Google Maps.