Hands up if you ever owned a Nokia cell phone. Now did you like the maps function? It may not have been as pretty as some of the others, but it was certainly fast, wasn’t it? Well now you can enjoy the same experience again but on your Android phone, now that Here has been relaunched in beta form.
So just in case you think that this is some tiny little operation operating out of a shoe-box in Helsinki, you should know that Nokia has been steadily building up a massive mapping operation over the decade or more, which culminated in the purchase of Navteq for $8 billion in 2007. The end result is now here (geddit?).
The new Here for Android offers an excellent set of features which rivals Google Maps (and others like TomTom) in just about every way. There’s turn by turn voice navigation, coverage of over 192 countries, web maps integration and most importantly of all, offline navigation. Which you’ll realize is an absolute boon when traveling abroad on expensive roaming data.
There are also things like real time traffic, public transport and even an integration with Glympse, so you can track friends and relatives in real time if you need to know where they are. The bottom line is if anyone is going to challenge the data hungry Google Maps and beat them at their own game, it’s going to be Here, and judging by this early beta, things are definitely going to get interesting in the sat-nav market now.
Download and try it out, we found it really easy to use and the access to maps (and subsequent offline mode) worked perfectly. We haven’t had a chance to test it over a long journey yet, so we can’t comment on it’s accuracy on the go, but first impressions are really impressive.