Nokia recently made it clear that other manufactures of Windows Phone based devices would also have access to their famed Ovi Maps, slightly surprising, but I guess that was part of the deal they struck with Microsoft. But what’ll come as another pleasant surprise is that users on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android will not be left bereft either. Nokia’s soft launched a brand new HTML5 powered, mobile optimized Nokia Maps website that as you will see below works perfectly on Android and iOS.
The website (m.maps.ovi.com) is still very much beta (read basic), with the last update being carried out on July 7, but you can still browse worldwide maps on the go and plan a route, both driving and walking. Coupled with access to the GPS, it lets you track your movement accurately. On Android, you get small zoom keys to let you zoom in and out, but on iOS pinch to zoom works perfectly making the experience a tad better. This is probably down to better support for HTML5 technologies on iOS v Android.
Here’s a quick video overview Nokia Maps on Android and iOS:
With the speed at which Nokia’s Maps team works, I can imagine that the website will get pretty regular updates, perhaps incorporating POI and other goodies soon. This move marks a clear assault on Google Maps which for a long time were the sole runners when it came to cross platform deployment. In a lot of countries where Google doesn’t offer navigation, Nokia Maps via their HTML5 foray have the opportunity of matching the functionality the native Google Maps app provides.
I can see Nokia going the Google way with this, offer everyone your Maps so they get hooked but keep the best experience for your own platform. If you’re wondering this is how it looks on the iPad 2.
Check out the video for the full blown overview of Nokia Maps on Android (Galaxy S2) and iOS (iPad 2).
Finally before you start making your mind about it, remember this is a soft launch, a first step so to speak.