It looks like the unthinkable has just happened, as Nokia has announced its HERE Maps application will soon be available on Android devices.
More importantly, Samsung and Nokia have signed an exclusivity deal, so HERE Maps will only be available on Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
According to HERE (a Nokia company), their maps application for Samsung Galaxy smartphones will be launched the moment the Samsung Gear S smartwatch arrives in stores. This means that Samsung Galaxy owners will be able to take HERE Maps for a spin as early as next month.
For the time being, there doesn’t seem to be any restriction regarding which Samsung model might or might not be compatible with HERE Maps, but we suspect that more details on the matter will be shared in the coming days.
The important thing is that HERE Maps will be available to Samsung Galaxy owners free of charge. Moreover, users will be able to pair their Galaxy smartphones with the Samsung Gear S to sync routes with the smartwatch.
HERE also confirmed that its maps service will also work with Glympse and Samsung’s Car Mode. With Glympse, users will be able to share their location in real time with the people they know. They just need to tap on their location in HERE application for Android and they can send a Glympse to their friends to let them know where they are.
The Samsung Car Mode, on the other hand, is an exclusive application for Galaxy smartphones that’s been especially built for in-car use. When you turn on this mode, your smartphone will only provide you with minimal options, such as phone calls, messaging, music and directions.
Furthermore, every option in the Samsung Car Mode is voice activated, so you won’t need to use your hand to control your smartphones.
The official announcement mentions HERE Maps will initially be available in beta, but it will offer full offline map functionality from the start.
HERE Maps will offer maps for about 200 countries, but only half of those will feature turn-by-turn walk or drive guidance. Traffic info will be available for more than 40 countries, while transit maps and directions will be downloadable for more than 750 urban areas across 40 countries.
Although Nokia announced HERE Maps for Android is exclusively available for Samsung Galaxy smartphones, it’s probably a timed exclusivity that will end at some point in the coming months. Here is hoping HERE Maps will be released for all compatible Android smartphones sooner rather than later.