Today at the Directions Summit event in San Francisco, Nokia made a number of announcements, including a new brand for Nokia’s mapping and location services: HERE maps (www.HERE.net); HERE’s availability on iOS via the Apple App Store, and on Android via HERE Maps API for Android; HERE Maps for Firefox OS; LiveSight (hey, we like that name!), “a technology based on a highly accurate, 3D map of the world, which provides the most precise and intuitive augmented reality experience”, and the planned acquisition of Earthmine, “the 3D Street Level Platform”. Quite a showing!
While HERE Maps and Nokia Lumia smartphones are “naturally made for each other”, according to a post on the Nokia Coversations blog, HERE isn’t just for Windows Phone:
Nokia Lumia and HERE are naturally made for each other, providing the best location experience on a smartphone, but we aren’t reserving HERE just for Windows Phone. Instead, we are opening it up to all devices and operating systems to give everyone, with any type of device, the possibility to recognize and the ability to use the best location platform in the world. This openness is what sets HERE apart from other digital maps in the world. And with HERE, location will be an even more powerful differentiation for Nokia.
In addition, if you want to embed HERE Maps in your website, a Nokia developer, working on his own time, has developed JHere.net, a “a simple but powerful map API in the form of a jQuery (or Zepto.JS) plugin”.
Of course this leaves open a lot of questions about Microsoft’s mapping strategies and how they fit in with Nokia. Will Microsoft embrace HERE across all of its offerings? Will Bing Maps and HERE compete in some arenas while HERE is featured on Windows Phones? What will happen to Bing Maps 3D strategy? Lots more to learn, that’s for sure!