iPhone users struggling with Apple's substandard maps app can now get a decent alternative in the shape of Nokia's Here.
Here is free, and available now for iPads and Android devices of all shapes and sizes as well as the Jesus mobe. For Apple users, Here is a sensible alternative to Cupertino's disastrous satnav-like app that replaced Google Maps in iOS 6.
Nokia's web-based service was launched last week, but the mobile apps are now in the respective software stores though, interestingly, the Android version is only available through Amazon's app store rather than the more ubiquitous Google Play. That is probably down to the deal between Nokia and Amazon to distribute Here on the Kindle, but it could be the killer app that gets Amazon's store installed on more Android devices.
Once installed Here works well enough, plotting routes and providing turn-by-turn guidance as well as local information and live traffic reports, although The Reg didn’t use it long enough to verify its accuracy.
The mobile app doesn't offer a 3D view of the mapped out area nor Google Streetview-like functionality - but that's no great loss when Here's attempt at street-level photography is limited to about 20 cities in the US; Manchester, Liverpool, London and Helsinki are the only islands of coverage in Europe.
Maps can be downloaded for off-line use, but are limited in resolution; a nice interface shows the level of detail available, and alerts the user if it's going to cost a fair bit of cash to download the data unless one is on a Wi-Fi network or similar unmetered connectivity.
Nokia is making a big play of its maps, which it took responsibility for in a collaboration deal with Microsoft. The map data is sourced from car satnav map supplier NAVTEQ.
On Android devices, Google Maps is hard to beat, though Nokia makes a go of it. On iOS, where Apple is still struggling and Google Maps isn't available as a client, then Here is the obvious place to go. ®