Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Nokia might not have won many hearts in the smartphone space, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the Finnish company is now hoping it can attract your attention with its soon-to-be-released revamped HERE maps application. That's a tough gambit, especially considering how thoroughly Apple Maps and Google Maps dominate the space, but Nokia might be able to pull it off on the basis of one feature alone — it'll support offline maps without the need to download them beforehand.
You might recognize the name. We've seen HERE on the App Store before, but Nokia removed its online-dependent incarnation last December in the wake of concerns that it wasn't compatible with iOS 7. With the offline iteration, Nokia's hoping that it'll catch on better than before.
"I'm convinced people are looking for alternatives," said Sean Fernback, an executive at the company. "Google Maps is a good solution for many, their maps work very well, but it has looked the same and done the same for a long time."
That is, of course, because it tends to work as expected. Apple Maps hasn't had such an enviable track record, to put it lightly, but the built-in iOS application has improved significantly over the last couple of years and a string of navigation-related mergers should improve it even further. In fact, it's now reached the point where it reportedly edges out Google Maps in usage on at least one network over in the United Kingdom.
Offline maps with search capabilities could be a boon while traveling overseas to save on data, and they could prove useful in the parts of the States that still don't have reliable signals. But is that enough for the app to catch on for users who aren't in either of those situations? That likely depends on the accuracy of the service itself.
Nokia's redesigned HERE app is expected to go live on the iOS App Store once it's approved by Apple, which could be as soon as the next couple of days.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.