Nokia’s HERE Maps For iOS A Disappointment

Nokia has many fans around the world who believe that its mapping service is the best one out there. And in selected ways it might be.

Nokia offered “offline” maps well before Google. The company is also the go-to mapping provider for third parties, such as Yahoo and Yandex. In addition, Nokia plays an increasingly important role on the back end for Bing Maps both on Windows Phone 8 devices and on the PC.

Nokia subsidiary Navteq was once one of the primary data providers for Google Maps until Nokia acquired the company for roughly $8 billion in 2007.

All this suggests that Nokia’s splashy new mapping app for iOS, HERE, would be top-notch. While the larger screen versions of Nokia Maps (on the PC and iPad) are better, the iPhone version is quite poor in terms of user interface and overall user experience.

I have only been using it for a short time and haven’t used it in enough situations to offer a definitive review. However it’s immediately clear that HERE is no substitute for Google Maps or Apple Maps.

Reviews that praise Nokia Maps for iOS are being kind. However, I might not go quite as far as Mike Blumenthal who wrote this morning “Nokia HERE Maps Sucks (Significantly) More Than Apple Maps.” Blumenthal even critiques the underlying map data, which is supposed to be one of the really strong points of the Nokia offering.

The bottom line is that users are likely to try and then quickly abandon HERE. Its deficiencies would appear to be symptomatic of Nokia’s larger competitive challenges. Perhaps if Nokia radically improves the UI (among other elements) it will become a worthy competitor to Google Maps or Apple’s product, which continues to get better.

As an alternative you might try Telenav’s free Scout mapping app, which offers voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. I’ve found it to be pretty good overall quite a bit easier to use than HERE.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Features: Analysis | Google: Maps & Local | Search Engines: Maps & Local Search Engines | Search Engines: Mobile Search Engines


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • MicroSourcing

    Nokia’s HERE maps for iOS could still be improved with some significant tweaks to the application. It needs to look at what makes Google Maps so successful, as well as the added value it can bring to the table.

  • K.Singh, London

    I really wonder why every one is trying to reinvent the wheel. I just don’t see the justification in any business trying to complete with Google or Bing Maps. These services are great and have been built with years of research and data collection.

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