Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) HERE mapping platform is now available for download on Samsung Electronics' Galaxy smartphones, marking the first time Nokia is bringing its core mapping software to devices that run on Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android. Nokia announced a licensing deal with Samsung for HERE at the end of August.
The HERE app is available in Samsung's Galaxy App Store and will run on Galaxy devices running Android 4.1 and beyond that have 1 GB of RAM or more. The app will also come preloaded on new Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
The app includes turn by turn navigation; 3D, flat and satellite maps; the ability to use maps offline; and Collections, a set of bookmarked favorite locations. Additionally, the app will also include Glympse, which lets users share their location with other people for a limited period of time and cancel that sharing whenever they want.
The mapping platform could let Samsung set itself apart from other Android device makers, at least for a time, by offering another solution beyond Google Maps, which is the default mapping service on Android phones.
Nokia compared its HERE maps with Google Maps in a new video.
Nokia made HERE and its location-based services a cornerstone of its strategy when it still had a devices business. Now that Nokia doesn't sell phones anymore (the company sold its phone business earlier this year to Microsoft), licensing HERE to other companies has become even more critical.
Sean Ferback, senior vice president of everyday mobility for HERE, told ZDNet that Samsung is hoping to use Nokia's maps to differentiate it from other Android device makers. "We were looking for opportunities to work with them, particularly around the mobile space because they have a very significant mobile reach," he said. "We went to talk to them, and one of the things they were struggling with was saying, 'How do we create something that just sets us aside from any other Android device?' And that's when they started to talk to us about their Gear and Tizen development plans."
Samsung's Gear S smart watch runs on the Tizen platform but also supports HERE.
In September Nokia confirmed to The Next Web that it will be expanding the HERE app across Android and to Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS before the end of 2014. Nokia pulled its original iOS HERE app from the Apple App Store late last year.
HERE offers full map functionality when users are offline, such as when they are underground on a subway or in an area with spotty coverage. The offline functionality also can make loading and accessing maps faster, Nokia noted. HERE supports real-time public transit schedules and lets users search for nearby locations by category. The service has maps for more than 200 countries, including turn-by-turn navigation in nearly 100, traffic information in more than 40 countries and transit maps and direction in more than 750 urban areas across more than 40 countries. Yet Google has caught up to some of those advantages with its latest updates to its Maps app, which now offers more offline map support and lane guidance for drivers.
- see this Nokia blog post
- see this Engadget article
- see this ZDNet article
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