Buried under all the excitement around the Note 4 and Sony unveilings today come some great news for all Android owners. Nokia's Sean Fernback gave an interview for the Wall Street Journal, confirming that Samsung won't have exclusivity on its Android app version
I'm convinced people are looking for alternatives. 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.
In fact, he says, Nokia's mapping software will land in the form of an app for all Android and iOS device by the end of the year. If your heads are spinning at the moment, we don't blame you, as Nokia gave billions to acquire NAVTEQ a few years ago, and created arguably the best offline navigation solution for mobile devices, which until now was exclusive to Windows Phone devices. Wait, there is more, as the HERE Maps navigation suite will be coming free of charge, which would really throw a monkey wrench in the venerable Google and Apple Maps solutions, which require you to be connected to the Internet for search and navigation. The Nokia Maps suite, on the other hands, lets you download maps of whole countries and regions beforehand, and then use them for searching an address or POI, and navigate with voice guidance to the spot, relying solely on the satellites swirling above your head. Moreover, it includes public parks maps and public transit options, though it was not immediately clear if those will make it in the Android and iOS map apps.
Nokia is not looking to capitalize and profit on its offline navigation tech, as it doesn't have an advertising model built around it, but rather wants to make mapping more precise with the help of the millions of users that will undoubtedly download its new apps. Hopefully this will force Google or Apple to provide their own mapping with free offline guidance, though we aren't waiting with bated breath for that to happen any time soon.