by Greg Sterling
Nokia has many fans around the world who believe that its mapping service is the best one out there. And in selected ways it might be.
Nokia offered “offline” maps well before Google. The company is also the go-to mapping provider for third parties, such as Yahoo and Yandex. In addition, Nokia plays an increasingly important role on the back end for Bing Maps both on Windows Phone 8 devices and on the PC.
Nokia subsidiary Navteq was once one of the primary data providers for Google Maps until Nokia acquired the company for roughly $8 billion in 2007.
I have only been using it for a short time and haven’t used it in enough situations to offer a definitive review. However it’s immediately clear that HERE is no substitute for Google Maps or Apple Maps.
Reviews that praise Nokia Maps for iOS are being kind. However, I might not go quite as far as Mike Blumenthal who wrote this morning “Nokia HERE Maps Sucks (Significantly) More Than Apple Maps.” Blumenthal even critiques the underlying map data, which is supposed to be one of the really strong points of the Nokia offering.
The bottom line is that users are likely to try and then quickly abandon HERE. Its deficiencies would appear to be symptomatic of Nokia’s larger competitive challenges. Perhaps if Nokia radically improves the UI (among other elements) it will become a worthy competitor to Google Maps or Apple’s product, which continues to get better.
As an alternative you might try Telenav’s free Scout mapping app, which offers voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. I’ve found it to be pretty good overall quite a bit easier to use than HERE.