Today Nokia introduced HERE, a location cloud promising to deliver the world's best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems.
With the new brand, HERE, Nokia aims to inspire a new generation of location services and devices as the company will make HERE Maps available for iOS in the Apple App Store as a HTML5-based app and introducing HERE Maps API for Android. It will also introduce HERE Maps for Firefox OS.
"People want great maps, and with HERE we can bring together Nokia's location offering to deliver people a better way to explore, discover and share their world," said Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop. "Additionally, with HERE we can extend our 20 years of location expertise to new devices and operating systems that reach beyond Nokia. As a result, we believe that more people benefit from and contribute to our leading mapping and location service."
To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand. Based on HTML5, it will include offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions. The application is scheduled to be available for free download from Apple's App Store in the coming weeks. The app is a clear effort to capitalize on the much-publicized weaknesses of Apple's new mapping product
Nokia further announced a strategic partnership with Mozilla to bring new location experiences to the Firefox OS. Nokia plans to debut a mobile Web version of HERE Maps for the new Firefox OS next year. The companies are working together to give people the best mapping experience on Firefox OS.
Nokia also demonstrated an Android OS-based reference application and announced plans for the availability of a HERE SDK for Android OEMs in early 2013. This is aimed at enabling its partners to create location-based applications for Android devices with Nokia's content.
To advance the 3D capabilities of HERE, Nokia announced the planned acquisition of Berkeley, Calif. company earthmine. The company's reality capture and processing technologies will become integral parts of HERE's 3D map making capabilities.
earthmine uses cars that navigate across streets to collect 3D street level imagery - a similar approach Google has followed in the past with its Google maps. By next year, with earthmine Nokia will expand the number of countries to 31 in which the company is automatically collecting 3D information.
Nokia expects the transaction to close by the end of 2012.
As part of its announcement, Nokia introduced LiveSight, a technology based on a highly accurate, 3D map of the world. LiveSight provides precise augmented reality experience and uses a phone's camera viewfinder to make discovering the world as easy as lifting up a phone. Nokia City Lens, which was developed exclusively for Nokia Lumia devices, is the first application providing a LiveSight-enabled experience.