Nokia’s mobile mapping gained traction when they made it available for free on all Nokia Symbian handsets. To take on Google Maps they even released an offline version of maps app that can prefetch map data and allow navigation without an internet connection. Google recently updated Maps app on Android to introduce a labs feature called Pre-cache map area that can download an area around a particular location and cache it for offline access. That doesn’t end there as Nokia is experimenting with a HTML5 based web app that can be accessed on iPhone Safari browser (iOS 4.3+) and Android phone (v2.2, 2.3) browsers. Nokia is also alpha testing this HTML5 based Maps on BlackBerry 6.0+.
Nokia took this bold step to introduce a HTML5 based web app as HTML5 as a web technology is fast evolving and is considered to be a native apps killer. But is Nokia Maps based on HTML5 worth it, lets find it out. Head over to m.maps.nokia.com to access Nokia Maps Beta on Android and iOS now. The Nokia Maps web app includes basic map features like search, directions, favourites and option to change map view on both Android and iOS versions. Nokia maps also features review and opinions section with images available for some locations. Finally sharing locations to Twitter, Facebook, Email or SMS is very easy.
To go little deeper this is the beta version (0.2-355-20110819) of Nokia Maps which includes nearby POIs, accurate walking and driving routes, images for places where it is available, place reviews. This web app also provides detailed Satellite images for most of the US and European countries.
The only difference on Nokia Maps for iOS and Android is while the former supports pinch to zoom the latter features a button to zoom in and out. Also Nokia Maps on Android is not that smooth even on the latest 2.3 Gingerbread version while Safari on iOS rendered with very well. All the other features are the same. Check all the screenshots after the break. I have added screenshots from Nexus S running Android 2.3 and iPhone 4 running iOS 4.3.
This web-based Nokia Maps is good if you camp in US or European countries because of the details it can provide. On the other hand if you are based in countries like India you will be disappointed due to the fact that it can’t fetch you details other than street names for some areas, at least that was the case with the place where I stay. So this is not a threat to Google Maps for time being and who knows Nokia may have something big up their sleeves.
Nokia Maps on Android native browser:
Nokia Maps on iPhone Safari browser: