Nokia has long had a respected mapping division, second only to Google. It has now spotted a gap in the market with the flunking failure of Apple Maps, and will be offering its newly rebranded mapping service, HERE, as a free app.
“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,” said Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop.
The new service will be based on HTML5, and will include offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions – key features missing from Apple Maps . The application is scheduled to be available for free download from Apple’s App Store in the coming weeks, and the Google Play store in the new year. Nokia also plans to launch HERE on Mozilla OS smartphones in 2013.
To improve the service the manufacturer has also announced talks are in place to buy 3D mapping firm Earthmine, which it expects to have completed by the end of the year.
“Nokia’s assets in this space are world class. We believe mapping and location will be increasingly important to developing next generation devices and services across a wide array of segments,” said Crawford Del Prete, Executive Vice President and head of worldwide research at IDC.