Nokia executive Sean Fernback told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the Finnish telecommunications company will be releasing a brand new cross-platform mobile navigation app for the iOS and Android platforms later this year.
Nokia, which sold off its handset division to Microsoft, kept its Here mapping service. The forthcoming GPS navigation app would be unique in that both the maps themselves and searches would work without an Internet connection.
As map navigation works through satellites, users will be able to download maps to the device in order to navigate without an Internet connection, according to Fernback.
Nokia won’t make any revenue from the ad-free app and instead plans on using crowd-sourced data to improve its location database.
Last month, the Finnish company cut a deal with Samsung to use Here maps on Galaxy devices, another proof of the South Korean company decreasing its dependency on Google’s Android software and the underlying services such as Google Maps.
Nokia currently licensees its maps to corporate customers like auto makers and logistics-dependent businesses such as FedEx and Amazon.com, the Jorunal noted.
Nokia is convinced there’s a room for yet another big-name mapping service.
“I’m convinced people are looking for alternatives,” Fernback said. “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.”
The free app is based on Nokia’s beleaguered Here mapping service which launched as an HTML5 web app in November of 2013.
Soon after, a native iPhone and iPad client for Here released in the App Store (pictured top of post) with maps for around 200 countries, voice-guided walking navigation, public transportation directions and offline capability.
However, Nokia in December 2013 pulled that app from the App Store due to a wide range of compatibility issues with iOS 7.
“We have made the decision to remove our Here Maps app from the Apple App Store because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience,” the Finnish company said at the time.
Fernback now admits to WSJ that the app was “a rushed product” that “went horribly wrong” because it was “never thoroughly proven”.
Will you give Nokia’s navigation app a whirl when it arrives?