Nokia has released Here, its newly rebranded mapping application, for iOS devices running iOS 4.3 and up. The app is universal, so it works on both iPhone and iPad, and it’s free. Users of Nokia’s Windows Phone devices may find the experience familiar, as it includes similar features like nearby places discovery, but there are also crucial components like transit direction that aren’t present in Apple’s own pre-installed Maps app.
In fact, Here has a public transport view that handily shows nearby routes and stops overlaid on the map. It also provides driving and walking directions, and even lets you cycle through the days of the week when planning routes to see how traffic and other factors on different days might affect trip times and planning. Searching for locales brings up nearby interest points, too, in addition to routing options, as well as website and phone number info if they’re available.
The other features that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop demoed last week at a special event are there, too, including a collections feature for cloud-based storage of your favorite locations that’s accessible across devices, community maps (which may not be available yet depending on where you live) and the ability to download offline maps for target areas of the user’s choosing for use at a later time. Overall, my early impressions are that it feels like a very capable and feature-rich alternative to Apple’s own native mapping solution, though it only includes voice-guided navigation for walking directions, not for driving.
If you’re frustrated with Apple’s solution, this is a very good option, and Nokia seems to be heavily invested in the project, so it should only get better from here.
Update: Check out our hands-on video of Nokia Maps in action here.