Nokia to launch Map Apps on iOS, Android and Firefox OS, Rebranding Mapping platform as HERE

Nokia yesterday in San Francisco announced new developments for its Location and Commerce division (earlier Navteq) with the upcoming availability of a native mapping application for iOS and a software development kit (SDK) for Android.

In addition to that Nokia also announced a partnership with Mozilla to bring its LBS platform to the nascent Firefox OS ecosystem. This horizontal move of Nokia Location and Commerce to third party operating systems is wrapped in a rebranding of its LBS and mapping platform as HERE.

“The ethos of HERE is to be personal, immersive and actionable,“ said Peter Skillan, the head of design at Nokia Location & Commerce.

HERE Maps for iOS
The iOS mapping app (HERE Maps) is scheduled to be available for free download from Apple’s App Store in the coming weeks. It will include offline capabilities, turn-by-turn, voice-guided pedestrian navigation, public transport navigation, but no turn-by-turn in-car navigation. This iOS app will be monetized through advertising (Groupons offers are an example) and transactions.

Android SDK
The Android SDK said to be available in the first quarter of 2013 will be offered to smartphone and tablet manufacturers as an alternative to Google Maps and monetized through licensing agreements.

In its partnership with Mozilla, Nokia plans to debut a mobile Web (HTML5) version of HERE Maps for the new Firefox OS next year.

With these announcements Nokia Location and Commerce is executing its plan announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year to become a global provider of a full LBS platform that include content (maps, POIs, traffic, etc.) and the software and cloud components to run this data on every platform.

The de facto competitor in this league is Google. In that context Nokia has already signed up most of Google’s internet mapping competitors such as Microsoft Bing, MapQuest or Yahoo Maps. On the device side Amazon is the most recent win for the Nokia LBS platform, in addition to powering native Windows Phone maps.

Now the question that can be raised today is to understand how this Location and Commerce strategy fits into the broader Nokia strategy.

In one hand, in offering its LBS platform to third parties Nokia is somewhat diminishing the possibility to offer true differentiation to its own smartphones; but in the other hand the licensing revenues and the anonymous data collected by third parties apps running on the platform are real business opportunities that Nokia can not miss in its current situation.

Source : GPS Business News

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