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November 21, 2012

Nokia Delivers Decent Map App to iOS 6 Users

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

The people have spoken. Nokia (News - Alert) maps are HERE (as well as on iOS as a free app).

Last week, Nokia unveiled its cloud-based mapping services, which threaten the dominance of the existing Apple Maps app native to iOS, if only because Apple Maps is so disappointing. In the least, it establishes a bar that the yet-to-come Google (News - Alert) Maps app for iOS must measure itself against.

Early reviews however, are less than stellar. Complaints range from semantic issues to aesthetic ones. The bugginess can be expected, being a new product on a different platform. What it lacks in its current form, however, it makes up for in its potential.

I’ll address these issues. First, HERE maps are not yet as accurate as those of Google Maps. But incorporated into the design is a means by which it can infer the existence of new roads and automatically incorporate them into the unmapped area. If a number of users follow a particular route, it assumes this route is a road (or at least a path of some sort). So rather relying on robot cars, it can derive information from people who drive there anyway.

Another feature is Drive + which is still in beta. It uses a 3D modeled street view to give turn-by-turn directions. While I wouldn’t rely on it for navigation in its current form, it does present a strong challenge against Google Maps. And like Google Maps, Drive+ is not yet available on iOS. However, since its acquisition of earthmine inc. we have had reason to believe that Nokia will invest substantial resources into it.

I found HERE to be adequate. In fact, I rather like it. It is faster than the native Maps app, and it has one crucial feature that the latter lacks: the ability to save maps. The thing is, when you find yourself in a part of the world without 3G/4G coverage is when you most need a navigation device. Google Maps has this feature for Android (News - Alert) phones, but it is not yet available on iOS. It’s great. I downloaded my state to test it. It took a minute or two and a handful of megabytes. As far as the detail is concerned, it included at least enough to get you from one address to another.

Nokia, I look forward to its development. You just might be able to redeem yourself from your killing of Meego.  

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Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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