Nokia is planning to bring free mapping apps to the Android and iOS platforms, an executive for the company told The Wall Street Journal.
According to Sean Fernback, the HERE apps are scheduled for release before the end of the year and will provide greater offline functionality compared to rival services, owing to the ability to fully download maps.
Fernback said he is convinced consumers are looking for alternatives and that the potential increase in users could have the benefit of additional feedback that can be used to improve Nokia’s location engine.
There does not appear to be any plans for Nokia to use advertising to support the service, as Google does.
Last week Nokia struck a deal with Samsung to bring its mapping technology to Tizen, the open source operating system being backed by the South Korean giant.
It appears that now Nokia’s HERE mapping business no longer needs to support the company’s struggling handset business, which has been sold to Microsoft, it can make its mapping technology available to a wider range of consumers.
Nokia previously released an iPhone mapping app in 2012 but the product did not fare well, eventually being withdrawn from the App Store.
The mobile mapping market is dominated by Google Maps, while Apple Maps is also a major player, despite a shaky start. Both Google and Apple would need to approve the arrival of Nokia’s mapping products in their own app stores.