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Amazon makes its Maps API available; Nokia is the wizard behind Amazon's mapping service

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Amazon makes its Maps API available; Nokia is the wizard behind Amazon's mapping service
Amazon hasn't been so quick to reveal who is behind the Google-less mapping application on the Amazon Kindle Fire line. The secret is now out thanks to Nokia spokesperson Sebastian Kurme who revealed that it is the Finnish based company behind the service on Amazon's tablets. The same software powers the highly regarded Nokia Drive as well as Yahoo! Maps and some of the mapping features offered by Bing. Nokia's Location Platform allows developers to use Nokia's set of APIs to build location based mobile apps with functions for "Maps, Positioning, Places, Directions, and Traffic”. The APIs will work on mobile and web apps as well as on HTML5 apps (in beta).

Nokia is behind the mapping on the Amazon Kindle Fire

Nokia is behind the mapping on the Amazon Kindle Fire

The news of who provides the mapping services for Amazon came after the online retailer announced that it would launch a Maps API to allow developers the opportunity to offer Google-less location data for apps to be used on the Amazon Kindle Fire tablets. Google also offers a similar API to third party developers, but the Amazon tablets have been DeGoogle-ized, to coin a word, and Amazon would surely prefer that developers not use the Google offering.

In beta, developers who want to switch to the Amazon API must be invited. To do so, click on the sourcelink or go to the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal. Amazon says it will use a "simple migration path" for those who want to switch.from the native Google API on Android. The API will allow developers to toss in an interactive map on their app which will allow users to "travel" the world. Local businesses can use the ability to put up a custom overlay to attract customers using a variety of pins or pointers to show their location on a map.
Amazon is licensing the Nokia Location Platform (NLP) for maps and geocoding.

The Nokia Location Platform is the most advanced mobile location platform with a unique global footprint. It provides maps for almost 200 countries (with more than 100 of them navigable) and provides the best, automotive-grade map quality based on industry-leading technology and more than 20 years expertise in mapping.
Amongst others, it is already powering Yahoo Maps, and increasingly also powering Bing Maps as well.

Location is playing a central role in our strategy, and because of its global footprint, quality and completeness of performance (geocoding, routing, traffic) the Nokia Location Platform offers great opportunities for 3rd parties to build upon.
Amazon´s decision to choose the Nokia Location Platform is further proof point that our competence in this space is a key differentiator also for other leading players in the industry to offer great location consumer experiences."-Nokia

source: Amazon, TheNextWeb via Engadget

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posted on 17 Sep 2012, 14:19 4

1. Aeires (unregistered)

Nokia maps on an Android forked OS, keep it up Amazon and your tablet will start to have an identity crisis.

On a serious note, Nokia does have good quality. Wonder how much their maps cost in relation to Google maps?

posted on 18 Sep 2012, 01:47 1

11. rsxl5 (Posts: 65; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)

Used it last week on my Lumia 900 in Shanghai and worked good (speech recognition as well) ; it got me to destination properly but honestly I'm rather far from being satisfied with interface (not quality of the maps).

In short:
- if used in 'abc' alphabet countries should work good,
- if used in other alphabet countries not so good (unless you are willing to use mobile in that country language).

On ENG language OS chosen.
- When typed a place name in Chinese it send me 300km away to a place with the same name....
- When typed transcribed name target was correctly assigned.

Switching to Chinese OS provided me with a correct location in Shanghai if typed in Chinese but not with the same result if transcribed in English....

Never had that issue on Google Maps ; no matter which language I used always got me a correct location.

Apart of above:
a) names of streets on ENG OS are only in English,
And there is a danger because in the same city you may have two streets transcribed in the same way but in very different locations. The way Google maps presents data (both names visible on the map) makes sure that even if you don't speak Chinese you have at least a chance to graphically compare characters.

b) Current name of the street you are on at the moment (separated window at the top) is shown only in Chinese (without having it transcribed). So, on ENG language OS you have streets names on the map transcribed only but detailed window gives you Chinese characters only

I'm a Pole living in China and speaking Chinese but I do prefer to use mobile in Polish (or English) ; actually I'm forced to English OS because there is no way to manually point Speech Recognition system to English while on Polish OS... Well, looks like there is an assumption that one person is rather not able to communicate in more than one language.

** Just found out that descriptions in Chinese are completely ignored by TellMe... Have two contacts with the same name and one of them is additionally marked with Chinese name. Mobile is always trying to call the first on the list ignoring the fact that there are two of them.

posted on 17 Sep 2012, 14:23 6

2. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

Amazon is playing it smart

posted on 17 Sep 2012, 14:36

3. MartyK (Posts: 947; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)

Talking about biting the hand that feed you. (SMH)

posted on 17 Sep 2012, 15:45 2

4. ogy_dogy (Posts: 453; Member since: 29 Jun 2012)

Talking from experience Nokia maps are top quality, in some cases my nokia drive app is better than my garmin satnav. So amazon is playing it smart....

posted on 17 Sep 2012, 15:56

5. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4321; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

Come on, don't bite Nokia...
Even Apple still buys chips made by Samsung even after the lawsuit. It's business... And when they do it, they do it the right way.

posted on 17 Sep 2012, 16:09

6. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

Amazon is hell bent on becoming er, um something. Not content with being a sales channel, they are really riding high on the Kindle Fire wave. Don't know how long that will last, but only time will tell. Good luck to all parties involved. Amazon isn't part of Google's OMH are they?I have tried the Kindle Fire it's nice but a slow and heavy for a 7" device and not good looking in the least. Hope they can pull some better designs before this goes south.

posted on 17 Sep 2012, 16:14

7. rainyday (Posts: 44; Member since: 04 Sep 2012)

Let me see Amazon DeGoogle-ize that skinned android based os their tablets are running, then well talk.

posted on 17 Sep 2012, 16:20 4

8. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)

nokia license it, so they could get big bucks for that right?

nokia maps for mobile is really superior!

posted on 17 Sep 2012, 16:46 4

9. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Nokia Maps are the best consumer-available in the world, so Amazon made a good choice.

posted on 17 Sep 2012, 20:01

10. lyndon420 (Posts: 5002; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

Something sinister is a foot. I smell a trap.

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