San Francisco - Nokia outlined a new map strategy on Tuesday that it said was crucial to its mobile ambitions and which also aims to take advantage of Apple's unsuccessful launch of its own mapping service on the iPhone 5 earlier this year.
Called HERE, the new mapping service will be available as an app on the iPhone and other Apple mobile devices as well as on Nokia's own devices and those running on Google's Android operating system, Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop said.
“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 Elop at the San Francisco launch event. “Additionally, with HERE we can extend our 20 years of location expertise to new devices and operating systems that reach beyond Nokia.”
Nokia, which was the undisputed world leader in cellphones until Apple's iPhone and Google's Android operating system became popular, sees its mapping services as a key differentiation with other smartphone makers. But it faces stiff competition from Google Maps which is the clear leader in providing mobile maps to users.
Maps are considered one of the most important applications for mobile devices because of the frequency of their use for navigation and search purposes and their ability to bring in huge revenue through location-based services and advertising.
Elop said that Nokia would constantly update the maps with new information gleaned from users, and would create maps in real time based on current conditions, showing each person's favourite places and routes.
Elop said that the app includes voice-guided walking navigation and public transportation directions - features that Apple's maps app lacks.
Elop also noted that the app would include offline support in which a person can choose to download maps of certain areas to use offline so that location searches can be done in areas with poor or no cellphone reception, like a subway tunnel. - Sapa-dpa