FINNISH phone giant Nokia rebrands its maps service as ‘Here’ in the hope that app developers on Android and iOS will use its software.
Nokia claimed it would “redefine [the] digital map landscape” with a new partnership with Mozilla and an acquisition of 3D capture company, earthmine.
The troubled mobile giant has also already submitted an app to Apple, which is still struggling to get over its recent maps problems in the latest release of iOS6. It hopes to take advantage of Apple's cancelling its deal with Google's maps.
Based on open web standard HTML5, Nokia said the app will include offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions. The application is scheduled to be available for free download from Apple's App Store in the next few weeks. A software development kit is also to be available for developers using Google’s Android operating system: available in early 2013 Nokia hopes location-based applications for Android devices will use Nokia's leading content rather than paying Google to use their own maps.
Nokia’s partnership with Mozilla will also bring new location experiences to the Firefox operating system.
Analysts at CCS Insight said the move marked a “major escalation” in Nokia’s bid to get its maps software used across a range of platforms. The firm questioned, however, whether Here would make inroads without a major marketing budget, and suggested it could in due course become a standalone business.
Crawford Del Prete, Executive Vice President and Head of worldwide research at IDC, an anlyst firm quoted by Nokia, said that "Establishing a new brand is the right move for Nokia in the map and location business. 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.”
"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," said Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop. "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."
By Matt Warman Telegraph.co.uk