Nokia has introduced Here maps for the Nokia Asha platform with a beta release of the location app for its recently launched Nokia Asha 501
Announcing the move on its Conversations blog, Nokia said that the first beta release of Here Maps was specifically designed for phones without GPS. The app, available for download through the Nokia Store
, allows users to search for places and addresses in nearly 200 countries, and offers driving, public transit and walking directions as list or map view. The app also offer real-time traffic information visualised on the map to let users reroute to avoid heavy traffic areas (available in select regions only). In the absence of GPS, the app uses cell location data to show your location on the map.
The Here maps app also offers public transit lines info and satellite image views in some regions and Nokia says that the satellite view images would soon be updated to offer better quality.
"Nokia Asha devices will offer industry leading HERE experiences to millions of consumers using maps on their mobile devices for the first time. Simultaneously, HERE Maps on Asha platform will drive an additional level of scale, visibility expanding Nokia's HERE platform and ecosystem further in high growth markets," said Neil Shah, Senior Analyst, Strategy Analytics.
Here maps are already available for multiple mobile platforms including Windows Phone 8, Firefox OS, mHTML5 (via web browser), iOS and Android.
It's interesting to note that Nokia had revamped its Asha feature phone software from the ground up and the Nokia Asha 501 is the first phone to feature the new OS.
While it's not very clear if Java apps written for previous Asha devices will work on the Asha 501, Nokia had announced
that most popular applications were already available or in development for the Nokia Asha platform, including apps from CNN, eBuddy, ESPN, Facebook, Foursquare, WhatsApp, Line, LinkedIn, Nimbuzz, Pictelligent, The Weather Channel, Twitter, WeChat, World of Red Bull and games from Electronic Arts, Gameloft, Indiagames, Namco-Bandai and Reliance Games, at the time of the phone's launch.
With Here maps also reaching the new platform, the phone has better chances to compete with low-cost Android smartphones and Firefox OS based phones, as Nokia looks really keen to push the revamped Asha platform as a smartphone OS.