Nokia introduced the Android version of its HERE mapping app for Samsung devices, leaving users of devices made by other vendors waiting to access the service.
Like other mapping apps, HERE can be used to find locations and services as well as navigate to a specified point. But it features more advanced offline navigation capabilities than many rival products.
By using maps that are downloaded and stored on the device, HERE is able to navigate more quickly and function when data connections are interrupted. Voice files for guided navigation can also be downloaded and stored in the devices.
Offline navigation does however mean users will have to go without live traffic information and satellite images.
Consumers can access the app without registering but will have to do without features enjoyed by registered users, such as collections (a personalised record of routes and locations) and categorised map bookmarks, which are stored online.
In a blog post, Nokia stressed that the details of registered users will not be sold on to advertisers and that a permanent record of users’ whereabouts are not retained.
The beta version of the mapping software is available in the Samsung Galaxy Apps Store.
The imminent launch of HERE for Android and iOS was first reported at the beginning of September, although the iOS version is yet to materialise.
It is also available on the Android-powered Nokia X line, although Microsoft, the new owner of Nokia’s former Devices & Services division, said in July that this range is being axed.
Now that Nokia’s HERE mapping business no longer needs to primarily 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 also recently struck a deal with Samsung to bring its mapping technology to Tizen, the open source operating system being backed by the South Korean giant.
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 need to approve the arrival of Nokia’s mapping products in their own app stores, which may explain the delay in HERE arrived in Google Play and the App Store.