iOS 6’s maps woes continue, but the band-aid support has been strong. In comes Nokia with a little something for the frustrated iOS user. Long thought as the strongest contender in the mapping department, Nokia gives iOS users a chance to find out exactly why. Terrible name aside, Here Maps does everything you’d want from a Google Maps or Apple Maps solution.
List of official features:
• Map views – Pick the map you need from map view, live traffic view, public transport line view or satellite view • Save map areas & wander without data coverage
• In selected countries, access community maps created and updated by users • Maps, search and place coverage for nearly 200 countries
• Search with history and suggestions • Share places with just a tap, including the location and how to get there, over SMS, email, or social networks
• Organize places you love into Collections • Sign in to HERE Maps with your Nokia Account or Facebook login • Sync with Here.net – Access your Collections anywhere
• Step-by-Step voice-guided walk navigation • Walk navigation through pedestrian routes, parks, alleyways, and more • Public transportation and driving directions
So what gives? Why does iOS fans get such a treat, especially when Nokia is at war with Apple in the Mobile industry? Who knows, maybe that “too nice for their own good” kind of Microsoft mentality is rubbing off, but the good part of that is the user wins. Which is how it should be.
But hold on, hawk eye’d Microsoft super celebrity points out, the features seen in Here are actually a bit more refined than those native to WP8 maps. WHOA!
How is it nicer? It takes only seconds to notice some key differences if you’ve used WP Maps as much as I have.
Public transit. On Windows Phone, Maps can provide walking and driving directions. But Nokia HERE (and Nokia Maps on WP) also include public transit directions.) It also supports a public transport map view in addition to (normal) map view and satellite view.
Audio directions. HERE supports audio directions, which Microsoft included in Windows Phone 7 but removed in 8 (a situation that can be partially explained by the fact that Maps is now extensible with navigation apps like Nokia Drive.)
More granular traffic alerts. In WP Maps, you can toggle traffic on and off, but in HERE, you can also choose whether to be alerted for accidents, construction, congestion, and other traffic issues.
It works sideways. Unlike with Maps on WP, or Nokia Maps on Lumia handsets, HERE actually works in landscape mode too, not just in portrait. You know, as you’d want when driving around in a car.
There’s more, but you get the idea.
And yes, I get that Nokia HERE is lacking a few features, like downloadable offline maps. But come on.