Nokia Launches Location Cloud Service Called HERE

It will make it available across mobile operating systems

On Tuesday, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia officially announced the launch of HERE, a location cloud that should provide great maps and location experiences across operating systems.

The company notes that the new brand is expected to inspire a new generation of location services and devices, so that users would enjoy a more personal experience everywhere.

“People want great maps, and with HERE we can bring together Nokia's location offering to deliver people a better way to explore, discover and share their world,” said Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop.

“Additionally, with HERE we can extend our 20 years of location expertise to new devices and operating systems that reach beyond Nokia. As a result, we believe that more people benefit from and contribute to our leading mapping and location service.”

As part of the new launch, the company announced the availability of a HERE maps application for the iOS mobile platform.

The new software is based on HTML5 and comes with features such as offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions. The app should arrive in the Apple App Store in the coming weeks, for free.

Furthermore, the company unveiled a partnership with Mozilla for the delivery of the new location service to the upcoming Firefox OS.

The mobile operating system will benefit from a mobile Web version of HERE Maps starting with next year, and the two companies are already working on providing Firefox OS users with the best mapping experience.

“Mozilla is a leader in HTML5, building the Web as a platform for developing compelling applications, and location is a key part of that platform,” said Jay Sullivan, Mozilla vice president of Products.

“We are excited to work with Nokia as the combination of Firefox OS and HERE's location platform provides rich possibilities for mobile application developers to create amazing experiences for users.”

An Android application was also demoed, and Nokia announced the availability of a HERE SDK for Android OEMs in early 2013, so that more companies will be able to come up with location-based applications for Google’s mobile OS.

The service will also provide 3D capabilities, and Nokia has agreed to acquire the Berkeley, Calif. company earthmine to integrate its reality capture and processing technologies into HERE's 3D map making capabilities.

“Maps are hard to get right - but location is revolutionizing how we use technology to engage with the real world,” said Michael Halbherr, executive vice president of Location & Commerce and responsible for the HERE brand.

“That's why we have been investing and will continue to invest in building the world's most powerful location offering, one that is unlike anything in the market today.”

The Finnish handset vendor also announced LiveSight, a technology that takes advantage of a highly accurate, 3D map of the world, which should deliver a great augmented reality experience while using a phone’s camera to enable people to discover the world around them more easily.

Nokia City Lens, the company’s augmented application currently available for Lumia smartphones, is already providing a LiveSight-enabled experience.

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