Beta of Nokia's turn-by-turn navigation app free for Windows Phone 8 users

Beta of Nokia's turn-by-turn navigation app free for Windows Phone 8 users

Summary: Microsoft and Nokia are making Nokia's Drive+ turn-by-turn navigation app free for Windows Phone 8 users in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.


Starting January 23, Microsoft and Nokia are making the beta of Nokia Drive+, which is Nokia's turn-by-turn navigation app, free for all Windows Phone 8 customers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.


Microsoft made the announcement on the Windows Phone blog. The beta can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store.

I've asked Microsoft officials when the app will be available to users outside those three countries and when it will be out in final form. I've also asked whether Microsoft is paying Nokia to provide the app to users of phones other than its own Lumia devices. No word back yet.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had nothing more to share beyond what was in the blog post. So no answers to any of my questions above.

Nokia promised in June 2012 to make its Drive app available on all Windows Phone 8 handsets. This is much needed, given Microsoft removed turn-by-turn navigation from Bing Maps when it released Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft and Nokia are seeking feedback on the Drive+ beta via the app's "feedback" tab, according to the blog post.

In other Windows Phone news, Verizon announced on January 23 that it will make available the Samsung "Odyssey" ATIV Windows Phone 8 starting on January 24. The device will be available for $49.99 after rebate.

Verizon already offers a couple of Windows Phone 8 devices: The HTC 8X and the Nokia Lumia 822. The Samsung Odyssey is a mid-range phone. It originally was supposed to be available on Verizon in December 2012.

Topics: Windows Phone, Microsoft, Nokia, Verizon


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Thats great news.

    Nokia Drive supports full offline map support for the entire world and totally free. More choice for WP users.
  • Beta of Nokia's turn-by-turn navigation app free for Windows Phone 8 users

    Pretty nice app and the offline mode helps on saving data. If this app could give traffic reports it would be the only navigation app you would need.
  • This is specifically for DRESSS - vector based maps

    This is specifically for DRESSS - vector based maps

    We were promised by dresss and his peers that vector based maps was a revolutionary, innovative, incredible leap by apple when they released ios 6.

    "Nokia Maps 2.0 uses vector-based maps"

    But I'm sure Nokia Maps 2.0 was released long after ios 6, wasn't it?

    "Friday, May 23, 2008"

    • Here is the link for my quote

      I was running into the ZDNet filter again:

      Bing: nokia maps vector brighthand

      ZDNet won't allow the link.
  • Yeah now WP user can find there way home

    It is good that Windows phone is improving. I would like to express how happy I am that Microsoft handled this is a much friendlier way than Apple. They may have made a bit of a fuss over Google maps being blocked, but at least they are checking products before they push them out. Bing and tools aren't bad, just not as good as Google. Unfortunately I am still one of those people that moved from WP7 to Android 4.03 sorry Microsoft.
  • Nokia Beta

    Not a bad app, but one glaring shortcoming in its "turn by turn" navigation. I have it on my 920 and my daughter has it on her 900, but pretty useless and not nearly as good as Google maps.
    Although it does tell you to turn in 300 yards or 1/2 mile or whatever, it does not tell you the street to turn on. So when it says "turn now", you are never sure if you are turning onto the correct street and get no info about which street to turn onto. Display is great, maps are great, but I want to know what street name I am supposed to be turning onto. I do not want to have to look at the map when navigating an unknown place.
    • my gps does tell the street names

      but often you just can't see the sign, especially if it's dark outside and the street in question is small. so instead i rely more on the indicator that shows the car on the map and whether it is past the nearest preceding intersection
    • I had this problem too

      You have to make sure you pick the right voice for the GPS. Not all the voices are able to read street names. Sounds crazy but its true.

      "Street names is available for the 822 simply by downloading any if the voice file with "announcing street names"."
    • Voice Choice - Can Include Street Names

      When using the Nokia Drive+ Beta, I can choose various 'voices' for voice navigation. Some of those voice choices will announce street names and some choices don't. Note that this feature is for Drive+ Beta and applies to WP8 devices - so your daughter's 900 won't have this option.
      achilles heal
      • Thanks

        I did not know that it was possible to hear street names too. It is logical that recorded voices cannot read street names.
        Anyway, I am not sure why would anyone want to buy navigation software when this one is free. It works great and has offline maps. It is great.
        • Still a long way to go

          I used a voice that can say street names, but the audible directions are still very poor. It will say "Take the exit" when you need to take an exit off a highway. Well, which exit? It should have the exit number and name.

          It will also say things like "Keep right to get on the highway", even when entrances to both the north-bound and south-bound ramps are one right after the other and both a right turn. If it can't tell me which direction on the highway to go, which exit to take, etc. it doesn't do much good.

          The old Bing Maps turn-by-turn navigation on Windows Mobile 6.5 was awesome and worked perfectly. Why they can't replicate that almost four years later is beyond me.
      • Thanks will definitely check it out

        Glad to know that and will definitely check it out.
    • Nokia Drive and Maps is awful

      At first I laughed at the iSuckers who had to suffer with Apple Maps. And then I got a dose of instant karma when I got the Lumia 920. It's a great phone, but the Nokia mapping apps make me long even for the mapping from Windows Mobile 6.5.

      First of all, you need two apps, Nokia Maps (which is the maps part) and Nokia Drive (which is the turn-by-turn directions). I guarantee this is Conway's Law at work.

      Second, when you're in Nokia Drive, you can't see a list of directions, you can only see the next turn available to you. And you can't see that list in Nokia Maps, either. So if I want to see a list of directions, I have to use Bing Search for the back-door into the Bing Maps experience to get them.

      Third, there's no option to keep the map pointing north while I drive. So in addition to a crappy UX I also get motion sickness while the app keeps rotating trying to figure out which way to point.

      Fourth, it prompts me every time to download the maps even though I have downloaded them for my state already.

      These apps are a joke. Please just give me Bing Maps again. If it exists for iOS, it can exist for WP8.
      • It is navigation app

        All navigation apps and devices that I have seen by default show map oriented towards direction you are moving.
        Now for navigation I do not understand what is the point of having list of directions and always having map pointing to the north. I guess that these are habits from "paper times". I also used to print driving directions from google maps where map orientation was always the same. I do not see a point in that now.
        In any case if you want to have the old "bing map" functionality you can have it. Simply do not press "start navigation" button and you will have your old experience: the list of directions and map that does not turn.
        • Good Navigation apps has the North Up option.

          "All navigation apps and devices that I have seen by default show map oriented towards direction you are moving". This, unfortunately is a wrong assumption. You can have the nav to hold your bearing or you can have North up. Try Sygic or Co-pilot. And this is a much needed option if you do jobs that takes you to oil patch, bush, off the grid survey etc.
          Like wise the option to look at the directions is also a much needed option if you need to reroute on the fly especially when you are out in the woods where un-announced closure of routes are a regular issue. This feature comes in handy when you need to work with an oil field atlas (Or some sort of such) in conjunction with your GPS software.
          Yes, these are specific requirements that do not apply to the regular person who use a nav software to do the city drive or the once in a while inter city highway drive.
          And regarding the voice on turn by turn, one needs to use a .tts file. For example the file would read simon US.tts . I am not sure about the extension on Nokia Nav app, However most nav apps I have used require a .tts file in voice option for street name read out.
      • Pebkac?

        I think you may be experiencing the smartphone version of pebkac.
    • @brickengraver, the one big complaint with Nokia Drive is now eliminated

      It gives the street name now, so the one big complaint with Nokia Drive is now eliminated. This is on an HTC 8X. You do have to change a setting in the options but that's only on the initial setup.
    • @brickengraver, the one big complaint with Nokia Drive is now eliminated

      It gives the street name now, so the one big complaint with Nokia Drive is now eliminated. This is on an HTC 8X. You do have to change a setting in the options but that's only on the initial setup.
  • Desperate?

    Freebie for the US and Canada I understand, the UK, not quite. This under the assumption that it is the lack of growth making Nokia take this step. Nokia grew 50% in the UK without a freebie. A Nokia customer outside these is going to feel peeved.

    When they bring out the TRUE Pureview Nokia WP they're not going to have to give stuff away anymore. For anyone taking pics with their phone it's going to be irresistible.
    • Not quite...

      The Nokia apps are FREE on Nokia phones. And this has come about due to the agreement between Microsoft and Nokia 2 years ago. ALL Nokia Lumia 920 customers get the maps by default. This release is for non-Nokia handsets.
      Kunal Nanda