Nokia released an iOS app for its HERE mapping service back in 2012, but pulled it from the App Store a year later as the maps were quite slow and buggy.
Following the acquisition of Nokia’s handset division, the company is planning to relaunch Here Maps for iOS and Android before the end of this year. The apps will be available for free, and their key selling point would be that they would work offline, without any internet connection. Google Maps does let you save a map for offline use, but Nokia says their app would offer more features in offline mode.
Nokia’s mapping business till now was largely a business-to-business offering, with customers like auto companies, Fedex and Amazon. Now that Nokia no longer has to worry about its handset division, which is a part of Microsoft, the company can “go where the scale is” and expand the consumer side of the business as well.
Nokia’s new apps will have functions that competitors lack, including the option to fully download maps for offline-use, as well as search without an Internet connection, Mr. Fernback said. Google Maps allows for more limited offline functionality.
Map navigation works through satellites so once a map is downloaded it can work without an Internet connection.
The app will be free, and unlike Google, Nokia has no immediate plans of showing ads to monetise the service. The company would instead benefit when people give feedback about the mapping data, and over time, improve the service.
Nokia is very frank in admitting that the first version of Here for iOS launched in 2012 wasn’t up to the mark:
“It was a rushed product that was never thoroughly proven,” Mr. Fernback said. “Honestly, it went horribly wrong. But we’ve regrouped now.”
We’ll be waiting for Nokia’s maps app to come out, as there could be nothing better than three strong players competing to be the best maps app on iOS.