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back to article Nokia woos disgruntled iOS users with rebranded maps service

Nokia has rebranded its mapping systems, dubbing it HERE, and is looking to bring over disgruntled (and disorientated) iOS users with an HTML5 app, as well as others unsatisfied with Google's mapping system. "We aren't reserving HERE just for Windows Phone," said Pino Bonetti, senior marketing manager for Nokia. "Instead, we are …

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Anonymous Coward

And still no one buys their phones.....

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Trollface

And Still You Troll

go get a real job......

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" And still no one buys their phones....."

then they are very silly, even the bottom of the line Lumia 610 that I've got for work is an absolutely excellent bit of kit.

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Every phone I've ever owned has been a Nokia. Except one - about ten years ago, when I was living in Spain, I (stupidly) bought a Samsung. Never again.

While I am a little hesitant due to the size and weight, I will probbaly buy a Lumia 920 early next year to replace my aging N73.

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iOS 6 maps don't seem to be that bad. Everyone I frequent has nice detailed maps with good images all the way to the largest scale. That includes an area in the US with like houses in the middle of fields and an area that Google only covered decently in the last year or so. The biggest issue I see some smaller areas don't have their closes labeled. So I guess that could be comfusing and yeah there are some poor data in the Philippines, for example, but I'm not going to the Philippines any time soon or enough to really care.

It's certainly not perfect but it's definitely better than what Google maps was even 2 years into its life. So it's good enough and I don't think Nokia offering something better is going to convince someone to switch which I assume they think this will lure people into buying their windows phones.

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The POI are generally wrong though

For example, my local library is in completely the wrong place, and my local pub is missing entirely!

How can I trust a map that doesn't show every pub?

The two things about iOS maps that annoy me the most are very simple though:

The colour scheme is wrong. They appear to be using the same USA colour scheme throughout the world, regardless of the local conventions and laws. Motorways are BLUE and major A roads are green, that's what the Highway Code says. Both yellow is just horrible, you can't distinguish them.

It is incredibly slow. Google maps takes a second or so to start displaying, iOS maps takes upwards of ten.

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Re: The POI are generally wrong though

While I agree that having both A roads an motorways in the same colour is unhelpful, why do you think that the Highway Code is an authority on map colours?

If I were to pick an authority in the UK I think I'd go with Ordinance Survey, who are currently changing colour schemes because the previous one makes the colours indistinguishable for many people who are colour blind, so your favourite colour scheme will likely vanish from use in a few years.

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iOS6 maps made the Norwegian village I live in black and white. I keep half expecting to see Charlie Chaplin peeking out from behind the post office.

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Re: The POI are generally wrong though

Take a look at a motorway sign.

What colour is it?

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Google maps on Android is great, but I really miss Nokia maps from my old 5800. It's ridiculous that I can only do offline maps by selecting a few tiny squares, rather than downloading by countries or continents at a time. Nokia had this right six years ago! Another oddity is that search doesn't work offline. Okay, I realise Android does this via Google search, and I realise I'm not going to get a Google Internet search offline, but why can't I even search the roads/placenames etc that are downloaded? I'm currently in the US, and whilst I can use maps offline, it's rather mad that I have to manually search myself for roads or places, when I know the info is on my phone. I'd love to use Nokia maps again.

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Meh

@Mark .

"Google maps on Android is great, but I really miss Nokia maps from my old 5800"

So in fact Google Maps isn't great. Like you I had a 5800, and really appreciated proper offline navigation, and all the bells and whistles, all available back in 2009, and working well on hardware that was fairly poor. Google Maps in 2012, by comparison, is a very mediocre application, of zero use in a reception black spot because you can't search the limited offline maps cache, you can't get directions if already driving, and even where there is reception it is lacking decent lane guidance, or any speed limit and camera reminders. And on any handset I've yet seen Google maps seems to take forever to locate the user, in large part because it is busy communicating with servers half way round the planet over an often slow and congested mobile data connection.

When Google Maps works it is OK, and I do use it. For free that can be considered good value, but it could be so much more if they'd actually try using it themselves, and work out what a smartphone navigation mapping device needs to accomplish. They've had plenty of time to sort this out, and the improvements over time have been fairly paltry - like improving the orginally dreadful digitised speech. That was a worthwhile change, but the app shouldn't have gone out with such poor speech in the first place.

Given that (fanbois not withstanding) there is not really much to choose between any modern phone OS, I think that the mediocrity of Google Maps might be enough to make me choose a Nokia (and hence Winpho) device next time round, although there's a year for me to think about it on my contract.

Incidentally, Nokia releasing HERE for foot navigation only is a bit pointless - nobody will see the quality that the service really has, and it won't drag iTards over to WinPho. Personally, given the poor quality of Google Maps, I'd buy the full functioning Nokia app for £50 outright on Android, or pay fifteen quid a year for it; Not sure how many peasants would actually put their hand in their pockets, though.

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Elop said that usage of its map products is now 75 times higher than this time last year

Nokia still has map products? I remember ovi maps from years ago, but it's been a while since I heard it take a breath.

Besides, I don't think he's fooling anyone with that "75 times" nonsense - Nokia's smartphone marketshare is less than 5% in latest figures - a 75 fold increase to *get* to that figure is depressing. Like a schoolkid looking proud as punch because he got 5/100 questions right on his maths exam.

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Boffin

Re: Elop said that usage of its map products is now 75 times higher than this time last year

I believe the critical point is that Nokia mapping was not 'Eloped' unlike the Nokia smartphone platforms.

Its pretty clear that anything Elop has turned his attention to seems to burst into flames. Whereas Nokia's other divisions not 'improved' by Elop (feature phones, mapping and networks) seems to be chugging along OK.

Earlier this year I wrote a post suggesting that a relatively small investment from Apple into Nokia would pay off in a couple of areas:

. Mapping

. Patents / radio expertise

. Expanding the range of phones and/or brands - i.e. Apple iPhone vs cheaper Nokia Nano version for developing markets

. Better retail and telco support

. Causing Microsoft to spend billions to purchase Nokia / develop there own phone infrastructure / Ballmer to spontaneously combust

All positives. :-)

I think Apple are now big enough (and need to) produce a range of phones besides the iPhone 4/4S/5 to compete with the massive Android range. Nokia still design reasonable phone hardware. At least for now.

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Re: Elop said that usage of its map products is now 75 times higher than this time last year

Antitrust regulators would have to approve the purchase - unlikely, imo.

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@Esskay: Plausible explanations

- Maps product usage != smartphone usage

- Maps product usage != phone usage

You do realize Nokia owns Navteq, who produce things like map data for? If Failop includes all their services, it's obvious "map products" are doing well. Perhaps he even includes services like maps.nokia.com.

You do realize map applications are installed on the cheap Nokia Asha phones that sell quite well? That is turn-by-turn routing with offline maps, for free. Map applications are some of the things that Nokia actually does well, but in your "Nokia sucks at everything" world that is clearly not possible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navteq

http://conversations.nokia.com/2011/11/08/nokia-maps-on-series-40/

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Anonymous Coward

Big Fail Down Under

HERE.net does not know if Sydney is a city or a town or a village???

HERE.net is very sorry but it can not find any route whatsoever to get you from Melbourne, VIC to Sydney, NSW.

3D looks like Satellite but sometimes looks worse?

Pass (nicer word than Puke).

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Re: Big Fail Down Under

I just tried it and it worked just fine. The route was produced instantly. 8.47 hours, 861km by car

Perhaps you had the "by foot" icon selected.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big Fail Down Under

"HERE.net does not know if Sydney is a city or a town or a village???"

Well that's entirely accurate. For all those possums in the outback, Sydney's a city. By international standards it's a town, and by global megacity standards it is a village.

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Coat

Re: Big Fail Down Under

If you use the 'by foot' option in Australia it probably presumes your feet are manacled together......

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Meh

not here

maps.nokia.com.is using the same image of my area in the UK as Google does. It is so fuzzy that even the roads are not visible. I know it's the same image because there is an identical cloud in the bay.

Using Bing maps I can see my house in detail.

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Windows

Fiesty Finns...

Have I got the take on this right?

With one hand on the ropes, and a Canadian stomping on it's throat, Nokia's fighting back.

Maybe rumours of its demise are somewhat exaggerated....

Bloody hope so.

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Unhappy

Re: Fiesty Finns...@Andus McCoatover

"Nokia's fighting back"

Well, actually Nokia is just delivering Elop's master plan. Trying to use Maps as a lure for other phone users is a nice idea, although in my view unlikely to actually draw many users away from their shiney iPhones.

Nothing has changed since the burning platform memo, Nokia is entirely dependant upon MS producing the goods in a popular phone OS, and as a company is coasting, trying to avoid burning too much cash whilst hoping in future to capitalise on Nokia's huge legacy user base not using full fat smartphones. The lukewarm reception for Windows 8 is a real problem here for Nokia - it seriously tarnishes WP8, and all because some arrogant twerp in MS wouldn't listen to desktop PC users, and foisted TIFKAM on an unwilling world.

Unfortunately, I think Google have just torpedoed Nokia's strategy - not per se with Android, but with the latest Nexus, which has delivered a proper smartphone at a previously unheard of price. Assuming that reflects a lower manufacturing price, then Nokia are in deep trouble, because the Lumia 820 is way too pricey to compete - and by such a margin that I can't see a theoretical stripped down 720 being cost or functionally competitive with the Nexus. Whilst Nokia have piffled around with their corporate woes, and prepping high end hardware for MS, Google have worked with LG to get the costs down.

In emerging markets, the rich will continue to covet the iPhone, but the emerging middle income groups will seek a balance of value and quality, and Nokia's not going to be in the running.

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WTF?

Nokia maps are incredible...

And I can't help feeling that they've just given away the trump card. (Disclosure: I like Nokias): on my N8 and N9, the offline maps and navigation are great, so, so much better than Gmaps on my old Android...yes I know Gmaps now does offline caching but it's really rather poorly implemented: select the square of the area you want, hope you don't go outside that square while out and about and do it without voice. Whilst on my Nokias, I just select the country I am going to, download and away I go, and I have full spoken navigation with road names to boot.

Still, it's not like many people were buying Nokias anyway, still less were buying them specifically for the maps (although I think they should)

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Re: Nokia maps are incredible...

Agree with your views on Nokia maps, but they haven't given the crown jewels away because they've only enabled foor navigation, I believe. Although that also means that IPhone users will still need to use Apple's maps for road navigation, and personally I can't see that working in Nokia's favour.

A far better strategy might have been to offer a two month free trial of the full function Nokia maps, and then offer an annual licence for say thirty quid a year. That way verybody can try for free, then choose to buy if they want without changing their phone, but when it comes to renewal time they start to think "Nokia maps is free when I buy a Nokia, not a sixty quid premium on top of the Apple tax".

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