Nokia Changes Map App as ‘Here’, Extends its Reach to Android, iOS

By @ibtimesau on

Nokia wants a sizeable bite on the billion-dollar global mobile location services by pushing its mapping solutions beyond the Windows ecosystem.

The Finnish mobile phone maker is set to deploy its revamped and rebranded map application, now called Here, to Apple's iOS and Google's Android ecosystems, which the company said should be up and ready for downloads in the next few weeks.

Unlike its rivals, Here, according to reports by The Australian Financial Review (AFR), "will bring voice guidance and public transportation directions to both Android and iOS devices."

Nokia's move, analysts said, is a welcome development mostly for iPhone and iPad users in light of the in-house iOS map application that has been the source of disappointment for the millions who upgraded to the latest cycle of Apple gadgets.

The same map architecture from Nokia is already in use with other Windows Phone 8 smartphone brands like HTC and Samsung, with The AFR's initial review giving it a thumb up.

"We want to extend Nokia's location offering to new devices and operating systems to give people a better way to explore, discover and share their world," Nokia official Vipul Mehrota told The Economic Times in a news briefing recently held in India.

It is part of the struggling company's overall thrust to gain more inroads in the global mapping and location services that currently generate an estimated $US6 billion each year, The Economic Times said, citing data provided by Strategic Analytics.

Here has been submitted to Apple's App Store, Mr Mehrota said, adding that Nokia plans to tap expertise from third-party players "to create location-based applications for Android devices with Nokia's leading content."

"We are focussed on extending the platform. Revenues are coming from licensing agreements and we will also look at other ways like advertising," Mr Mehrota added.

He pointed to unique features of Here, which allows "indoor mapping feature ... that gives details of outlets within a mall."

Also, Nokia Lumia handsets come preinstalled with City Lens, which according to Mr Mehrota "enables users to point the camera at real-world objects and see data overlaid on top of them on the screen."

Nokia's mapping, location and navigational technology will be made available to at least 196 countries around the world and its deployment will not be limited to mobile devices, Mr Mehrota said.

Soon enough, the same mapping solution will also be seen in car brands like Mercedes, Volvo and Volkswagen, Nokia said.

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