How the times have changed – following the sale of its mobile unit to Microsoft, Nokia is now free to do whatever it pleases with its other assets, including the powerful Here maps service.
Today Nokia announced that users of Samsung Galaxy devices will soon be able to download the free Here app for Android. The app will become available to other Android devices by the end of the year.
The launch of Here on Galaxy devices is an extension of Nokia’s agreement with Samsung to offer the service on Tizen devices. Nokia is also making the service available to Amazon and Jolla, the Finnish startup developing the Sailfish operating system.
Here is one of the few real competitors to Google Maps, and in some ways, it’s better than Google’s offering. Here’s biggest advantage is that it features true offline maps, meaning that you don’t need to cache certain regions beforehand like you have to do with Maps. You simply download an entire country or region, for free. This makes Here especially useful when travelling in regions where there’s no mobile signal, not to mention more affordable.
Here is a feature rich app that offers most of the bells and whistles you get from Maps. While Google’s service has the advantage of widely available Street View and a more comprehensive global maps coverage, Here is no slouch either – there are maps for 200 countries, with navigation instructions available in 100 countries, and traffic info in 40 countries.
The Here maps app plays nice with Samsung’s newly launched Gear S smartwatch – you can send a location to the Gear S and use the watch for navigation without needing the smartphone.
Here for Galaxy devices will hit the Play Store when Gear S becomes available in stores, which should happen, we guess, in the following weeks.