Nokia issues 'Here' native maps app for Apple's iOS
Nokia unveiled a Web-based version of "Here" to iPhone and iPad users last week. The cloud-based, platform-agnostic location service aggregates a variety of features including maps, public transit information, turn-by-turn driving directions, voice-guided walking directions, live traffic information, indoor services and offline access, as well as local deals.
"Here" offers iOS device owners a native alternative to the much-maligned Apple Maps, introduced this fall in conjunction with the overhauled iOS 6. Consumers have identified dozens of Apple Maps inaccuracies including missing roads, misplaced landmarks and mislabeled businesses, and CEO Tim Cook even issued a public apology for the service. Cook added that while Apple works to improve Maps, consumers should consider downloading native mapping apps or "use Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their Web app."
Nokia also has promised to release a "Here" SDK for Android in 2013, as well as a Web-optimized version for Mozilla's fledgling Firefox OS.
Nokia has ramped up its mapping and navigation efforts since acquiring location services firm Navteq for $8.1 billion in 2007. Speaking during a recent media roundtable at Nokia's Chicago offices (the former Navteq headquarters), Nokia's Executive Vice President of Location and Commerce Michael Halbherr said the company now poses a legitimate challenge to Google, the top dog in location-enabled mobile services.
"For location to be meaningful, you need a map and a map platform--either you go in and spend multiple years creating that asset, or you acquire that asset," Halbherr said. "Over the years we've built this asset, and that brings us into a very strong position. It's not something you can catch up to very quickly."
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