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Nokia brings map relief to Apple users


Nokia, fresh from being differently successful with Windows Phone-powered Lumia, has launched a new map app for smartphones.

The app, currently only available as an HTML5 mobile website, features 3D landscapes and turn-by-turn navigation (for walking trips only at present). An actual native app may well be available on iOS within the next few weeks (if Apple lets it, and that is a big if).  the iOS version of HERE will have a voice-guided walk navigation feature, directions for public transport, and offline capabilities. Android users may also get a native app, an Android HERE SDK should be out early next year.

“We aren’t reserving HERE just for Windows Phone,” said Pino Bonetti, senior marketing manager for Nokia. “Instead, we are opening it up to all devices and operating systems to give everyone, with any type of device, the possibility to recognize and the ability to use the best location platform in the world. This openness is what sets HERE apart from other digital maps in the world.”

The handset maker said it “aims to inspire a new generation of location services and devices that make the mobile experience more personally significant for people everywhere.”
“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,” Nokia president and CEO Stephen Elop said in a statement.

“Additionally, with HERE we can extend our 20 years of location expertise to new devices and operating systems that reach beyond Nokia. As a result, we believe that more people benefit from and contribute to our leading mapping and location service,” he added.

HERE Maps will also be available on the Firefox OS in mobile Web version through a strategic partnership with Mozilla.

Lumia users look set to get some exclusive features such as the Nokia City Lens. The acquisition of Earthmine will enable 3D features in the maps, and user input will help to continually enhance the offerings, executives said.