Samsung Maps Its Way with Nokia's 'Here' App for Galaxy Phones
By Jennifer LeClaire / Mobile Tech Today. Updated August 29, 2014.
Korean electronics giant Samsung has opted to license Here, Nokia’s mapping app, for its Tizen-powered smart devices and Samsung Gear S wearable.
Nokia took the lid off Here, which combines “accurate and fresh maps” with cloud technology to offer real-time location experiences on smartphones, tablets, wearables and even vehicles, nearly two years ago. The software offers maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems.
Formerly known as Nokia Maps, Here is intended to pave the way for Nokia to push its location and mapping services beyond its own devices. Nokia previously forged an alliance with Mozilla to bring new location experiences to the Firefox OS. The company also has a maps app for iOS that offers offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transportation directions. The Samsung deal is a sign that Nokia was on to something with its navigation, mapping and location strategy.
From Wrists to Pockets to Cars
Here makes its wearables debut on the Samsung Gear S. The software is powering an application called Navigator. Like the iOS app, Navigator offers turn-by-turn walk navigation and public transit routing. The app offers what Nokia is calling a stand-alone experience. Users can even store map data on their devices and use that data for navigation, directions and search even when their devices are offline.
Nokia is also suggesting you pair Navigator on the Samsung Gear S with Here, which is currently in beta and was developed specifically for the Samsung Galaxy Android line of mobile devices. The Here app lets users plan and calculate routes for walking and public transit on the mobile device, then send them to the smartwatch.
Just because Nokia folded into Microsoft doesn’t mean its technology wasn’t solid. Market research firm Frost & Sullivan just recognized Here as a “trailblazer in developing connected vehicle technology.” Here scored nine out of 10 points in Frost’s “technology excellence” category. That’s nearly three points higher than its competitors.
"Here's dedication to the automotive industry has put it on a pedestal above its competition," said Frost & Sullivan in the report. "Here's dedication to consumers and the industry separates it into a class of its own. There is no doubt that the company will continue to pave the way through the industry-leading position that it currently occupies."
Competing with iWatch?
As for the Samsung Gear S, it offers what the company calls an “up-to-date smart wearable experience with 3G connectivity.” The device has a two-inch curved Super AMOLED display and flexible band.
The wearable lets users read message and notifications at a glance and offer features like conversation view. Users can reply to incoming messages using an on-screen keyboard or use the voice functionality. Users can even make and receive calls right from their wrist.
Samsung may be making a preemptive strike against Apple. The rumor mill is churning about Apple's Sept. 9 event that could finally see an Apple-inspired wearable come to market. The tech giant is expected to take the wraps off the iPhone 6, and a new wearable device believed to be the iWatch, during the event.