Last month Nokia launched its maps for iPhone and iPad under the HERE brand. The idea behind the launch was a brilliant one – offer navigation services to iPhone users that won’t just make them familiar with the Nokia brand but also improve Nokia’s own maps with many more people using them than just a handful of Lumia users. The thing with maps is the more number of users, the better the data gets over a period of time. With no competition whatsoever, Nokia could have owned the iOS navigation market. However, it lost the plot completely as yesterday’s Google Maps launch on iOS shows.
When Nokia launched its maps on iOS, users thought they finally had a substitute for Apple’s sub-par maps. However, Nokia’s HERE maps turned out to be a very limited service than a complete navigation solution. Nokia did not provide a voice-based turn-by-turn navigation service while driving but one could get it for walking directions. It was a curtailed product, probably to retain some exclusivity for Nokia’s own Lumia maps.
Google, on the other hand, has delivered a much better app than what it has on Android smartphones! The maps app for iOS does almost everything that one can do on Android. Google realizes that it cannot ignore iOS users purely for their usage data and serving ads. The result of yesterday’s launch is that Google Maps became the most popular free iOS app globally within hours whereas Nokia’s HERE Maps, which were launched less than a month ago, are nowhere to be seen.
Nokia has let a great chance slip through its hands and this one will hurt them in the long run. If Nokia wants to succeed, it not only has to sell more Lumia devices but also make non-Nokia users experience its services.