Berlin-based OpenStreetMaps map app maker, Skobbler — which claims its map engine is ‘on a par with Google’s’ and last month relaunched into the Android app market with a hybrid online/offline map paid app (ForeverMap2) – is hoping to corner the map market on Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, being as there’s no Google Maps app pre-installed or available for download on the Fire app store. Skobbler’s ForeverMap2 for Kindle Fire is expected to go live later today, having been approved by Amazon, giving Kindle Fire users another alternative to existing map apps on the Kindle Fire App Store – such as MapQuest, Nokia’s Here and Microsoft’s Bing maps.
“The Kindle Fire has been wildly popular but with no Google Maps and no pre-installed map like most other mobile devices, this is a real opportunity to establish ourselves as the leading brand on this platform, and as a provider of the best map app for its users,” said Skobbler’s co-founder Marcus Thielking in a statement.
Skobbler reckons ForeverMap2′s combination of speedy map engine tech plus OpenStreetMaps data and fully featured offline maps give it the edge over rivals. “We feel that we have pretty much a map engine that is on the same level as Google’s — pure technology wise. And that’s way ahead of our competitors — the non-Googles, including Nokia by the way — out there,” Thielking told me last month.
Other features included in ForeverMap2 include address search, location finder, route calculation and POIs — which all function in both online and offline map versions
Skobbler says it is aiming to become the number one maps offering on the Kindle Fire. The company is taking a different tactic with the Kindle Fire than Google’s Play Store — offering ForeverMap2 as a free download with the offline maps component of the app only available via in-app purchase (on Google Play the app is a paid for download with one country offline map included in the initial price).
ForeverMap2 offline maps on the Kindle Fire app are priced at $0.99/£0.69 for Cities; $1.99 for States; $2.99/£1.99 for countries; $5.99/£3.99 for continents; and $9.99/£7.99 for a global offline map.
Asked how ForeverMap2 can beat Nokia’s Here (also free to download, and offering users the ability to “save map areas & wander without data coverage”), Thielking claims Here offline maps are very limited when compared to ForeverMap2′s fully featured offline maps — noting that Here only lets users download a “certain amount of map tiles”, at a “certain level of detail”. The size that can be downloaded is also “limited” — for instance, he says “you can’t get the entire city of Berlin”. Finally he says Nokia’s method gobbles up a lot of data — claiming that downloading Berlin offline maps via Here takes around 50MB of data.
Skobbler has also made its app available for Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Color, NOOK Tablet and NOOK HD/HD+ slates — in two versions: a free version with online maps, and a paid version which costs $5 that includes offline maps. Thielking says the reason for the two versions is that B&N’s store does not support in-app purchases at present.