Friday, December 27, 2013

Map this, Nokia

I just saw where Nokia has pulled their Here maps app from the iOS app store.

When approached for a comment, a Nokia spokesperson sent The Indian Express an official statement. It read, "We have made the decision to remove our HERE Maps app from the Apple App Store because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience. iPhone users can continue to use the mobile web version of HERE Maps under, offering them core location needs, such as search, routing, orientation, transit information and more, all completely free of charge.

I tried it as an alternative to Telenav's GPS app that I was using, and it was missing a lot of information related to...maps, plus it didn't seem to work with my contacts.  It was requiring me to pull off the road each time, copy and paste the address, and wait and wait, and that just didn't work for me.

The app came at a time when Apple was replacing Google's backend with Tom Tom's data and their own data-economical interface.  Everyone knows how smoothly that transition went.  After years of Google holding back, waiting for Apple to use every Google mobile service, Apple said "No more!" and went their own way.

Tom Tom's data is still flawed, but with so much input, it's become better, although it's still confused in dense city driving, and my iPhone's compass sometimes calls "interference".  I was using Telenav's GPS app (Telenav switched from Navteq data to Tom Tom) in Fort Lee, NJ a bit off course, and it immediately told me to turn around.  That was its favorite command to anywhere I was going, even with the feature phone versions.  After two years of premium upgrades, I let it go.  I downloaded their Scout app recently, even though I never understood the difference between the applications.  They seemed to give you everything for free with Scout, whereas they wanted you to pay for voice-guided navigation with the GPS app.  After so many years of having their products with success, I'm not completely giving up, even though it's of minimal use.

Thanks to Yelp, I use Apple's Maps application much more and it's generally good, although it has been confused at times, like all the rest--the worst of the mess is far behind us.

I use Waze quite a lot, especially on long trips.  Going to California, it was my companion.  It still asks if I'm seeing a slowdown when I'm sitting at a red light, so I type "red light" in the comment and tap Send.  Whether they take note or not, I don't know.  Nothing seems to change, even after months.  I don't have access to add stoplights through their map editor at this point.  It's good to see where accidents are and when there are hazards on the road.  Scout apparently has the ability to report such problems also.

I'm less enamored of Google's Maps application--or maybe of their maps.  While they're mostly fine, they can be off a bit for whatever reason.  Again, a good reason to carry more than one app.  I didn't use their maps on the road except for the year that I had an Android-based phone.  I don't remember Telenav having an app for Android.  That was a very difficult year with a lot of misdirection.  I saw my review of Google's app the other day and it wasn't complimentary.  However, I've used the app on iOS a few times recently and it seems okay.

Update 2014.02.18: I tried to use Telenav's Scout the way I have used Waze--driving and reporting.  It doesn't seem to work that way.  I could report while navigation was engaged but not otherwise.  It's probably a new user problem, but knowing Telenav, I wonder.  I did a search for a business and it couldn't find it.  When I checked on arrival, it knew that it was there, and that I was there.

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