updated 03:03 pm EST, Tue November 13, 2012
Nokia rebrands mapping operations, goes for new platforms
Nokia has announced Here, a new attempt at bringing its mapping services, which already power its own devices and Amazon's Kindle platform, to the web, Apple's iOS platform, and Mozilla's Firefox OS. Here will come with built in offline map capabilities, voice-guided walking navigation, and public transport directions. The Finnish company, known largely for its smartphones but gaining recognition for its location services, also announced that it would be acquiring earthmine, a California-based company whose technologies will be built into Here's 3D map-making capabilities.
Nokia also demonstrated an Android OS-based reference application, and the company plans to release a Here SDK for Android OEMs in early 2013.
Here consists of HTML5-based maps, which make it a good fit for Mozilla's forthcoming Firefox OS, which is also based on HTML5. Here will also run on Nokia's own handsets, which run Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.
On iOS, Here will come into direct competition with Apple's own sometimes maligned Maps app, as well as Google's forthcoming iOS 6 Maps app.
Nokia expects that the iOS version of Here will be available as a free download in the iTunes App Store within the coming weeks. The Firefox OS version is expected to be available early next year when that platform launches.