Nokia is relaunching its HERE maps and navigation application for iOS, after notching up 4m downloads of the Android version, which launched in October 2014.
As on Android, the iOS app will be free to download and use when it launches later today (11 March), with its key selling point its ability to store maps for 118 countries on the device for offline use, saving on mobile network data charges.
Positioned as a rival to Google Maps – and on iOS, the preloaded Apple Maps application – HERE also includes offline turn-by-turn navigation features for drivers, public transport directions for pedestrians, and the ability to pull in live traffic data when online.
HERE was originally unveiled in 2012, initially as an exclusive app to Nokia’s own Windows Phone smartphones, although the plans to expand to Android and iOS was talked about from the start.
Indeed, HERE was released as a native iOS app in November 2012, before being removed from Apple’s App Store in December 2013 due to the company’s belief that – in a spokesperson’s words – “recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience”.
The app has since launched for Samsung Galaxy-branded Android smartphones in August 2014, before a beta version went live in the main Google Play Android app store that December.
The app came out of beta in February 2015, at which point it had been downloaded more than 3m times, although Nokia told the Guardian that it has added another 1m Android downloads in the month since then.
iOS is likely to provide a significant boost to that total, even if Nokia is unlikely to reach the 10m downloads in two days achieved by the standalone Google Maps app after its release for iOS in December 2012, shortly after Apple had removed the version preloaded on its devices.
In April 2014, Microsoft bought Nokia’s devices and services business, with HERE remaining part of the company left behind in Finland as an independent entity.
While the consumer app is free to download and use, Nokia makes money from HERE through licensing deals for its data – for example for satellite navigation systems installed in cars, as well as to Microsoft.
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