Coming to Apple iOS: Nokia’s Free “Here” Maps

Nokia Here Maps

Image: Nokia Here Maps | Official Website

Nokia announced last Tuesday that they will be bringing a new mapping service to Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Dubbed as “Here”, the HTML5-based maps will sport offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transportation directions.

The map application will be available in the coming weeks. As stated by Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop:

People want great maps, and with Here we can bring together Nokia’s location offering to deliver people a better way to explore, discover and share their world. Additionally, with Here we can extend 20 years of location expertise to new devices and operating systems that can reach beyond Nokia. As a result, we believe that more people benefit from and contribute to our leading mapping and location service.

Other than iOS, Nokia’s new mapping service will also be available for its own Windows Phone handsets. Meanwhile, Google Android, and Mozilla Firefox will have a dedicated Here applications.

In addition, the Finnish handset maker said that they have plans of enhancing the 3D capabilities of Here with the acquisition of earthmine, a technology that makes reality capture and processing. As Executive Vice President of Location and Commerce Michael Halbherr pointed out:

Maps are hard to get right—but location is revolutionizing how we use technology to engage with the real world. That’s why we have been investing and will continue to invest in building the world’s most powerful location offering, one that is unlike anything in the market today.

Taking Over Apple’s Maps Application

Nokia Here’s debut to the iOS platform simply means that they will take on Apple’s own Maps application. It should be recalled that users and industry watchers have deemed that the Cupertino-based company’s mapping solution is inferior compared to Google Maps, which happens to be its predecessor.

Criticism of the said iOS software was so pronounced that Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an apology letter to their users last September. The company acknowledged the frustration that Maps has caused its customers, and even vowed that it would improve through time. Cook also suggested alternative map applications that people can use for the meantime. And this is where Nokia’s Here could come in.

On the other hand, it was reported that Google is working a Google Maps product that will be dedicated for the iOS App Store. Although the application is no longer included in Apple’s latest mobile OS, the service can be access through the Safari Browser.

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