Nokia Drive+ beta now available for all WP8 devices in Canada and U.S.

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Jan 262013

While Nokia Drive+, Nokia’s turn-by-turn navigation app, remains in beta, it is no longer a Lumia exclusive. Nokia decided this week to make it available as a free download to all Windows Phone 8 customers in Canada, the U.S., and the United Kingdom.

The app remains in beta as the team fine tunes the customer experience. In the meantime, you can access full turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation, offline maps, speed limit warnings, and conveniences such as day and night modes. With today’s release, the team is looking forward to hearing from even more Windows Phone customers through the app’s “feedback” tab, to help make it even better. Give it a try and let them know what you think. Learn more about Nokia Drive+ Beta .

Nokia Drive+

Among the features it offers are full, offline support for 89 countries, turn-by-turn, voice guided navigation with spoken street names, an automatic Day/Night mode, 2D and 3D landmarks on maps, an advanced dashboard with your speed, distance covered, estimated time of arrival and the time left to your destination, and more.

Nokia Drive+ is available for download through the Windows Phone Store.

Read more: Windows Phone Blog

Google to restore Google Maps access for Windows Phone devices

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Jan 052013
Google Maps

Windows Phone users started reporting yesterday that they could no longer access Google Maps. They were instead redirected to Google’s mobile search page. Initial suspicions ranged from some sort of technical issue to Google willfully blocking access. When Google initially responded, it explained that Google Maps was optimized for WebKit browsers and that other browsers such as Internet Explorer would not be able to access it. Confronted by howls of protest and proof that this was a new development rather than something that had always been true, it appears to have changed its tune somewhat.

Google today issued the following statement to The Next Web:

We periodically test Google Maps compatibility with mobile browsers to make sure we deliver the best experience for those users.

In our last test, IE mobile still did not offer a good maps experience with no ability to pan or zoom and perform basic map functionality. As a result, we chose to continue to redirect IE mobile users to where they could at least make local searches. The Firefox mobile browser did offer a somewhat better user experience and that’s why there is no redirect for those users.

Recent improvements to IE mobile and Google Maps now deliver a better experience and we are currently working to remove the redirect. We will continue to test Google Maps compatibility with other mobile browsers to ensure the best possible experience for users.

As Google points out, the version of Internet Explorer found in Windows Phone 8 handles the Google Maps much better and it will remove the redirect it has put in place.

Google is well within its rights to decide to support or not support non-Webkit browsers. But it should have been more transparent about its recent decision to redirect IE traffic to its main search page. The move follows Google’s recent decisions to stop supporting Microsoft ActiveSync and statements that it had no plans to develop Windows Phone version of its apps.

Read more: The Next Web

Google Maps for iPhone downloaded 10 million times in first 48 hours

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Dec 172012

Google MapsIt appears that there was a bit of pent-up demand for an alternative to Apple Maps among iOS users. Google’s Jeff Huber today announced that Google Maps for iPhone was downloaded over 10 million downloads in the first 48 hours that it was available.

We’re excited for the positive reception of Google Maps for iPhone around the world. Congratulations to the Maps Team on the recognition for the passion and hard work they poured into it, for this release and over the last 7+ years.

Google Maps for iPhone shot to the top of the App Store charts and remains there today.

Read more: Jeff Huber [via Google+] (Source: TheNextWeb)

Google Maps returning to iOS tonight?

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Dec 122012

Google MapsIf Apple Maps has left you wanting or driven you over to bookmarking on your iOS devices, there good be some good news tonight. AllThingsD reports that Google will release its new iOS Maps app tonight.

Google Maps had been preinstalled on iOS devices from the time that the first iPhone launched. It was dropped from iOS 6 this fall in favour of Apple’s own Maps app. Responding to wide criticism and ridicule for its many inaccuracies, Apple CEO Tim Cook went as far as publishing an open letter apologizing for the quality of the app and vowing that Apple would do “everything we can to make Maps better.”

It will be interesting to see how Google Maps fares against Apple Maps. If nothing else, as AllThingsD points out, anyone holding out on upgrading to iOS 6 over the mapping software will now be able to take the plunge.

Read more: AllThingsD

Nokia HERE Maps now available for iOS devices

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Nov 202012

Apple Maps got some competition in the App Store today and it’s not from Google. It comes instead from Nokia’s Here Maps app which is now available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (iOS 4.3 or later).

HERE Maps helps you feel like a local anywhere you go. See where you are, search and discover nearby places, and get a feel for the place. Collect places to remember or for later discovery. Explore new destinations and know instantly how to get there on foot, by car or on public transport. HERE Maps is based on the world-class NAVTEQ mapping data used in 90% of in-car navigation systems in the world.

Nokia HERENokia HERE

Among the features that Nokia HERE Maps offers are:

  • Map views – Pick the map you need from map view, live traffic view, public transport line view or satellite view
  • Save map areas & wander without data coverage
  • In selected countries, access community maps created and updated by users
  • Search with history and suggestions
  • Share places with just a tap, including the location and how to get there, over SMS, email, or social networks
  • Organize places you love into Collections
  • Sync with – Access your Collections anywhere
  • Step-by-Step voice-guided walk navigation
  • Walk navigation through pedestrian routes, parks, alleyways, and more
  • Public transportation and driving directions

Nokia HERE Maps is available in the Apple App store as a free download.

Apple CEO apologizes for Maps app issues and suggests alternatives

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Sep 282012

AppleApple’s new Maps app has been widely criticized since its launch in iOS 6 due to inaccuracies and bugs. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has now published an open letter in which he recognizes that its new mapping application does not live up to the usual standards associated with Apple:

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

Cook added that Apple is “doing everything we can to make Maps better.” He also took the unusual step of suggesting other options that users could look into:

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Kudos to Apple for the frank response to this issue…

Read more: Apple

Motorola pokes fun at Apple Maps in latest ad

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Sep 222012

That Apple will improve its new iOS 6 Maps app over time is not in question. But until it does, its competitors will see its current troubles as one of the few chinks in Apple’s armour. Case in point is Motorola’s latest ad:

Looking for 315 E 15th in Manhattan? Google Maps on DROID RAZR M will get you there & not #iLost in Brooklyn.

Motorola iLost RAZR M ad
Click for a larger version

Mapping software is now a standard feature on smartphones. For the first time in what seems like a long time, Apple has given its competitors something that they can use to sway buyers from one device to another. It will not be enough on its own it but could could be that little bit extra needed to tip more than one decision away from Apple.

Food for thought: Is it time to coin the term ‘MapsGate’ to describe Apple’s latest public relations nightmare?

Read more: Motorola [via Google+]

iOS 6 Google Maps app in the works?

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Sep 212012

Google MapsThere may be hope for iOS 6 users struggling with Apple’s new Maps app. UK’s The Guardian reports that Google is working on a new Google Maps app to replace the one that Apple removed in the latest version of its mobile operating system. The report is light on details but Google will presumably repackage it as an iOS 6-compatible app and submit it to the App Store for users to download if they so wish.

Google Maps was not the only Google application Apple removed from iOS 6. Also gone is the YouTube app but it a new version now available in the App Store for the iPhone (with an iPad version coming a bit later). It makes sense that Google would take the same route with its ampping application.

Until Google Maps is available in the App Store, users can still use Google Maps in their browsers.

The report provides no timeline as to when the new app might be ready. But a rumour that Google had already submitted the app for approval and that Apple had yet to approve it appears to be incorrect. The very reliable The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple, had a simple comment on this bit of news: “Nope.”

iOS 6 is the first version of iOS not to feature Google Maps preinstalled.

Read more: The Guardian and The Loop

Apple responds to mounting complaints about iOS 6 Maps app

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Sep 202012

One of the new features in iOS 6 is not generating the usual level of praise that meets major iOS updates. In fact, Apple’s Maps application is turning into an embarrassment for the company as users report a litany of issues with the new app. As an example, here is Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport:

Toronto Airport in iOS 6 Maps
Click for a larger version

While users may have forgiven that some features are unavailable (such as transit-based directions) in this first version, it’s quite another matter when major landmarks go missing, search results are widely inaccurate, and fly-over maps present abstract interpretations. Even more unfortunate is that Apple replaced Google Maps with its new app.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller today provided the following statement to AllThingsD:

“Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation. We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it. We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get. We’re also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”

Apple probably should have stuck a ‘beta’ label on its app for now or simply kept it away from customers’ iPhones until it’s ready. Instead, it is now left with a public relations mess.

While Apple is “working hard” to improve its Maps app, have a look at some of its more humorous errors at The Amazing iOS 6 Maps.

Read more: AllThingsD

Google announces offline mode for Google Maps for Android

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Jun 062012

Google today held an event to introduce “the next dimension of Google Maps” where it revealed that the Android version of its mapping application will soon support an offline mode. Despite the lack of connectivity, Google Maps will still function and support GPS and compass features (assuming these are enabled). The mode will work down to the street level.

It remains to be seen how saving these offline maps will work and how many maps users will be able to download.

The announcement comes as Apple is expected to announce at WWDC that it is replacing Google Maps with its own mapping service in iOS 6. Google Maps has been part of iOS since the iPhone launched in 2007.

The update to Google Maps for Android will be pushed out in some 100 countries over the next few weeks.

Google to hold Maps event on June 6th

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Jun 012012

Google has sent out invitations for a Google Maps event next week. The June 6th event will unveil the “next dimension” of its maps product.

June 2012 Google Maps event
Credit: CNET

Google will provide a “behind-the-scenes look at Google Maps” and a “sneak peek” at upcoming features that “will get people where they want to go — both physically and virtually” is also planned.

The event is scheduled just days ahead of WWDC. One announcement to possibly come from Apple’s own event is that it is dropping Google Maps in favour of its own mapping technology.

Read more: CNET

Google launches Google Maps 8-bit for NES

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Apr 012012

Google today finally announced Google Maps for one of the world’s most popular computer systems, The Nintendo Entertainment System. In the first NES cartridge to be released in nearly 18 years, Google has managed to bring all of Google Maps’ features to the venerable system. It supports searching for famous landmarks and sites around the world, Street View (in full 8-bit majesty) and provide detailed directions to “avoid dangerous paths, and battle your way through a world of powerful monsters and mystic treasures.”

Our engineering team in Japan understood the importance of maps on retro game systems. With the power of Google’s immense data centers, and support from Nintendo and Square Enix, we were able to overcome the technical and design hurdles of developing 8-bit maps.

Google Maps 8-bit for NES will be available soon through its Google Store. In the meantime, a limited trial version for the desktop is now available.

Google Maps 8-bit for NES

Don’t forget to check today’s date before placing your order.

Read more: Google’s Lat Long blog

Windows Phone HTC Locations adds downloadable maps support

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Mar 312012

HTC this week updated the Windows Phone version of its HTC Locations app to support offline maps. Already offered on some of HTC’s Android devices, the feature allows users to download maps and use them when not connected.

Find your way with directions or voice guidance. You can download maps to your phone for offline use, or search and browse online maps when you’re connected.

HTC Locations for Windows Phone

Locations is available as a free download from the HTC section of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace. It is not available for non-HTC phones.

A similar feature is offered by Nokia on its Lumia smartphones.

Read more: Engadget

Nokia Maps come to Andoid and iOS

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Mar 132012

Nokia today announced that its Nokia Maps navigation service is now available on iOS and Android devices. Rather than offering it as a a native iOS and Android app, Nokia is offering it as a HTML5-based web service.

Until now, owners of an iPhone, iPad or Android (2.3) device were stuck with other mapping services. However, if you now point your browser to, you’ll see that a world of clear and concise directions awaits you.

The service supports voice navigation but only for journeys by foot at this time. It also requires an additional 2MB download to do so.

Nokia Maps for Mobile Web

It also offers a number of different map views including Map view (default); Satellite view, Public transport view; and Live traffic view.

Nokia Maps for Mobile Web works on Android 2.2 and 2.3, iOS 4.3+. It should also work with the Nokia N9, webOS and BlackBerry 7.0+ devices although is still listed as ‘experimental’ on those.

Read more: Nokia