Nokia this week revealed its plans for getting its superior HERE location and navigation apps into the hands ofhandset users. And they’re not just for Lumia users, either: All Windows Phone 8 users will be able to at least obtain or purchase most of these crucial apps.
Back in February, Nokia rebranded its location and navigation apps with the HERE moniker and shipped new apps, some then in beta, for Windows Phone 8. The big news at the time was that some of the apps, which had previously been available only to users of Nokia’s Lumia handsets, would be made available to users of other Windows Phone handsets as well. These include HERE Maps, HERE Drive and HERE Transit. Some HERE apps, like HERE Drive+ and HERE City Lens, remained exclusive to Lumia.
With a release of new HERE app versions this week, things are changing. Now all Windows Phone 8 users will be able to obtain HERE Drive+, as long as they don’t mind paying for the privilege. (I believe HERE City Lens remains a Lumia exclusive.)
Here’s how it’s going to work.
HERE Maps. This mapping app is provided in-box with all Lumia handsets. Users of other Windows Phone 8 handsets will be able to download HERE Maps for free.
HERE Transit. This public transportation app is provided in-box with all Lumia handsets. Users of other Windows Phone 8 handsets in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain will be able to download HERE Transit for free. Users of other Windows Phone 8 handsets elsewhere in the world can purchase HERE Transit for €1.99 or similar (in their local currency).
HERE Drive. This app provides turn-by-turn voice navigation for the region in which the phone’s SIM originated. (If you live in the U.S., you get U.S. maps and navigation, for example.) It is provided in-box with the Lumia 520, 521, and 720 and can be for free by users of other Windows Phone 8 handsets in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. It will not be made available in other markets.
HERE Drive+. This version of the Drive app provides global navigation capabilities. It is provided in-box with the Lumia 620, 810, 820, 822, 920, 925 and 928. Lumia 520, 521 and 720 users can upgrade to Drive+ for €15.49 (or similar), as can users of other Windows Phone 8 handsets in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Users of other Windows Phone 8 handsets elsewhere in the world can purchase HERE Drive+ for €34.99 or similar (in their local currency).
Additionally, as part of this week’s updates, HERE Drive/Drive+ and HERE Transit are both getting some nice new features.
HERE Drive/Drive+ are getting an “updated, more intuitive user interface” with traffic conditions and a useful new My Commute feature. And HERE Transit features a “significantly redesigned user experience” that will be more familiar to Windows Phone users.