Nokia HERE Maps Coming To Samsung's Galaxy Line, HERE Beta For Android

On Android, given that it's built by Google, consumers already have access to what is arguably the best routing/navigational app in the known universe: Google Maps. But if for some reason that doesn't appeal to you, there's another major player coming to Android at long last. The HERE team is announcing this week that a beta of its mapping app is now ready for Android users, so long as you're using a Samsung device. Thanks to a licensing agreement with Samsung, it'll be available for free, exclusively for Samsung Galaxy smartphones like the Galaxy S5.

What makes HERE special is that it'll work without an Internet connection. If you have a solid GPS signal, you're in business, even when it comes to searching for nearby businesses and landmarks. Unlike other programs that just cache certain areas, HERE enables full downloading of countries or regions. HERE supports walking, driving, and public transit directions, and you can download maps for nearly 200 countries (with turn-by-turn walk/drive in around 100 of those).

This edition of the app also paris with the Gear S for syncing routes to one's smartwatch, and it works with Glympse and with Samsung's Car Mode. When you pair your Samsung Gear S with a compatible smartphone with the HERE app, you can plan walking or transit routes on your smartphone and then beam them to the smartwatch over Bluetooth to continue the navigation there.

Those anxious to give it a whirl will have to wait until the Gear S begins shipping later this year, but hopefully HERE spreads to all Android users once the Samsung beta runs its course.