Nokia HERE makes bigger push into maps, location services
Nokia HERE is aimed at taking on Google, Apple and others in maps and location services
Nokia will be making a larger push into maps and location-based services with its cloud-based HERE service. Will it be enough to help the floundering handset maker?
During its salad days, Nokia spent more than $8 billion to acquire Navteq and its exceptional mapping technology and data. This gave Nokia assets that few other companies could match, and while Nokia Maps powers the default maps in Windows Phone 8, we didn't really see a concerted effort from Nokia to push location.
With Nokia HERE, the company is going all in with mapping and location services and it's taking on the likes of Google, Apple, Garmin and others on all fronts. Nokia is providing strong maps for the desktop and various mobile platforms.
Head on over to Here.com (it will redirect to here.net) and you'll get a solution that's just as good as Google Maps. You can get directions by car, public transit and by foot, and Nokia even has its equivalent of Street View for a from-the-ground perspective. You can create your own custom maps and there's some deep integration with sharing.
Perhaps taking advantage of the heat Apple is experiencing for its subpar Maps app in iOS 6, an HTML5-powered Nokia HERE mapping app will hit iOS soon. It will have offline voice-guiding directions but it looks like this will only include directions for public transportation and walking. Nokia HERE will also be coming to the Firefox OS next year and Nokia is also releasing an Android SDK so app developers can build it into their programs.
Nokia is still in a somewhat precarious position because its major bet on Windows Phone hasn't appeared to turn around its slide. Devices like the Lumia 920 have just come out though, so perhaps this holiday season may see a reversal of its fortunes.
The HERE move may be a way to mitigate its reliance on Windows Phone, as Nokia definitely has some advantages over the competition when it comes to the scale and scope of its mapping data. It will need to gain traction with consumers and developers in order for this to be successful, though. The competition is stiff, too, as Google has been pouring money into mapping for almost a decade, and Apple knows it needs better maps and it has a giant war chest to do so.