Over the last few years, Nokia have been working hard on their own Maps service for mobile devices, HERE, since its launch it's gotten to be quite capable and as we all know there's more than just Google Maps out there. HERE gives users on Windows Phone a nice alternative, but it's now coming to Android. Well, it's coming to Samsung Android devices at least, as Nokia is announcing HERE will be available soon for Samsung smartphones and the recently announced Gear S smartwatch. It's annoying to see an exclusive like this hit just Samsung devices, but hopefully this is just a timed exclusive that doesn't go on for too long.
HERE itself offers many of the same services that you'll be used to with Google Maps or something similar, including turn-by-turn navigation as well as the ability to search for nearby facilities or further afield. More than that though, HERE also allows users to download whole regions or countries for use offline, allowing you to search for your nearest hotel and get there without using any data at all. HERE is a free app and it features maps for almost 200 countries – with 100 of them featuring turn-by-turn walking or driving navigation. Traffic information is available in over 40 countries and public transport info is available in over 750 urban areas worldwide.
The app is predictably built with a Windows 8 look and feel, with jagged edges and flat colors used throughout the app, but from the screenshots included below, things don't look all that different from the likes of Google Maps on Android. Pairing a Gear S smartwatch with your Samsung phone will allow you to see directions and such on your wrist. As well as that, the app also works with Glympse and an exclusive Samsung Car Mode, too.
All-in-all, it looks like Nokia have brought HERE to Android with some of their best features in tow, but with Google Maps still covering far more areas and continually staying up-to-date it'll be interesting to see how HERE shapes up. HERE is said to be available on Samsung smartphones running Android whenever the Gear S launches in stores, according to Nokia. Another clear example of how Samsung is keen to rely less and less on Google, HERE maps will give Samsung an opportunity to advertise something that nobody else has. How long the exclusivity period will last is something we don't yet know, but hopefully everyone on Android will be able to enjoy this soon.