Nokia's Here maps now available for Samsung's Galaxy devices

Nokia is making a fresh push into the work of Android, with the release of a beta mapping app through Samsung's Galaxy app store.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor
Here running on a Galaxy S5. Image: Charles McClellan/ZDNet

Nokia's Here maps are once again on the hunt for new users on Android, with the release of a dedicated app for Samung Galaxy devices. 

The app was made available for download on the Galaxy app store today, after Nokia last month announced its impending release.

The app comes with the features that Here maps users on Windows Phone and Fire OS will be familiar with: 3D, flat and satellite maps; the ability to use maps offline; turn by turn navigation; and Collections — essentially groupings of favourite places. As well as Here Maps, the app includes Here Drive, and Here Transit, for plotting journeys on public transport.

The app will also include Glympse, a feature that allows users to share their location with other people for a set period of time, and cancel that sharing at will.

The app will run on Galaxy devices running Android 4.x and beyond, which means S3, S4, and S5 handsets should be compatible. It will also come preloaded on new Samsung Galaxy smartphones.

According to Sean Ferback, SVP of everyday mobility for Here, Samsung is hoping to use Nokia's maps to differentiate it from other Android rivals. "We were looking for opportunities to work with them, particularly around the mobile space because they have a very significant mobile reach. We went to talk to them, and one of the things they were struggling with was saying, 'how do we create something that just sets us aside from any other Android device?'. And that's when they started to talk to us about their Gear and Tizen development plans," he told ZDNet recently.

The Galaxy app is part of a wider collaboration with Samsung, which also saw Nokia bring Here maps to Tizen — the operating system used by Samsung for wearables such as the Gear S.

While for the moment the app is just available for Galaxy smartphones, it's expected to be released on Galaxy Note tablets too. Nokia X devices, the Android-powered line of handsets now discontinued by Microsoft, will also be supported by the app.

Fernback hinted recently that the app would soon be released more widely for non-Samsung Android devices, as well as on iOS. It's not the first time that Here has been launched on Android of course — it hit the Amazon app store in 2012 and comes preloaded on Fire OS handsets. It hasn't been released through Google's Play Store, however — a situation that seems unlikely to change any time soon.

Here has also popped up on iOS before: it was released on the Apple app store in 2012, but Nokia pulled it the following year claiming that the newly-released iOS 7 "harmed the user experience".

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