While Google Maps
has a huge amount of mind share amongst smartphone-equipped road warriors, Nokia has an ace in the hole: amazing maps for Windows Phone. Arguably the best pure offline navigation solution on a phone, Nokia Drive is getting a new edition: HERE Drive+ and HERE Transit. The two apps will soon launch worldwide to all Windows Phone 8 smartphones
, not just Lumia devices. That means that HTC, Huawei, and Samsung WP8 products will soon be able to ride along with a Nokia mapping product.
"With the global release of HERE Drive+ for all Windows Phone 8 devices we will further extend our HERE business and deliver on our promise of making HERE experiences available for as many people as possible. The more people are using our location offering the better it will get for everyone," said Thom Brenner, vice president, Windows Phone applications, HERE. "At the same time this release also demonstrates our commitment to further strengthen the Windows Phone ecosystem with our maps assets."
The step to broaden the availability of its navigation app correlates with new releases of HERE Drive(+) and HERE Transit, both available for download from the Windows Phone Store within the coming days. The HERE Drive(+) update introduces additional enhancements to the experience, including My Commute, an innovative feature helping to improve the everyday commute. My Commute learns daily driving habits and provides predictable and personalized commute recommendations based on current traffic conditions. HERE Drive now also comes with the option to upgrade the navigation license from local to global coverage from within the app.
The latest update to HERE Transit further simplifies public transportation, taking advantage of the Windows Phone interface with a streamlined experience and a new panorama view. This new design is making it easier for people to plan routes and access previous destinations and favorites as well as nearby transit stations. HERE Transit will also be available for non-Nokia Windows Phone 8 smartphones in selected markets.
If you aren't on a Lumia, though, you'll need to pay up per app to get the experience.