A highly recommended prerequisite reading: The Where Platform from Nokia: a company move to taking data as a raw material to build products [April 7, 2012]
So, while Microsoft was struggling today with Steven Sinofsky, ex Microsoft: The victim of an extremely complex web of the “western world” high-tech interests [this same blog, Nov 13, 2012] Nokia made a big leap forward on its 2 year’s to counter the lethal dangers of Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Feb 21, 2011] phenomenon it recognized earlier than every other high-tech company in the “western world”.
Below there is the collection of the information made public today which shows quite well that in mid-term they could even become the most successful “western” high-tech company to overcome the tide raising from China towards the legacy high-tech companies. Their strategic partnership with Mozilla for the FireFox OS is even showing that they are not stupid at all to put all their eggs in the Windows Phone bag (albeit it is publicly only to bring HERE to that OS). They have already a very well positioned Asha and Asha Touch product line in the lower end (see With Asha Touch starting at $83 and Lumia at $186 Nokia targeting the entry-level and low-end smartphone markets [this same blog, Nov 1, 2012]), and now with FireFox OS they could have a 3d one positioned for what they called “taking advantage of future technology disruptions and trends” (see Nokia under transition (as reported by the company) [this same blog, March 11, 2012]).
Nokia redefines digital map landscape by introducing HERE as new brand for its location and mapping service [Nokia press release, Nov 13, 2012]
Nokia extends its service across devices and operating systems
Nokia announces new partnership with Mozilla and planned acquisition of 3D capture company, earthmine
San Francisco, California – Today Nokia introduced HERE, the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems. With the new brand, HERE, Nokia aims to inspire a new generation of location services and devices that make the mobile experience more personally significant for people 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.”
Pushing location beyond Nokia
To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand. Based on HTML5, it will include offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions. The application is scheduled to be available for free download from Apple’s App Store in the coming weeks.
Nokia further announced a strategic partnership with Mozilla to bring new location experiences to the Firefox OS. Nokia plans to debut a mobile Web version of HERE Maps for the new Firefox OS next year. The companies are working together to give people the best mapping experience on Firefox OS.
“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.”
Nokia also demonstrated an Android OS-based reference application and announced plans for the availability of a HERE SDK for Android OEMs in early 2013. This is aimed at enabling partners to create location-based applications for Android devices with Nokia’s leading content.
Innovating modern mapmaking
To advance the 3D capabilities of HERE, Nokia announced the planned acquisition of Berkeley, Calif. company earthmine. The company’s reality capture and processing technologies will become integral parts of HERE’s 3D map making capabilities.
Nokia expects the transaction to close by the end of 2012.
“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.”
Using LiveSight(TM) to see more of the real world
As part of its announcement, Nokia introduced LiveSight(TM), a technology based on a highly accurate, 3D map of the world. LiveSight(TM) provides the most precise and intuitive augmented reality experience and uses a phone’s camera viewfinder to make discovering the world as easy as lifting up a phone. Nokia City Lens, which was developed exclusively for Nokia Lumia devices, is the first application providing a LiveSight-enabled experience.
“Establishing a new brand is the right move for Nokia in the map and location business. Nokia’s assets in this space are world class. We believe mapping and location will be increasingly important to developing next generation devices and services across a wide array of segments,” said Crawford Del Prete, Executive Vice President and Head of worldwide research at IDC.
iOS, Android, Firefox OS: HERE is available everywhere [Nokia Conversations, Nov 13, 2012]
Today’s announcement means that we’re bringing HERE to all devices and operating systems to give more people, with any type of device the ability to use the best location platform in the world. This openness is what sets HERE apart from other digital maps in the world. And with HERE, location will set Nokia apart.
Introducing HERE Maps for iOS
We’re making HERE Maps available in the Apple App Store: iOS users can more easily access our rich mapping experience with a single tap on their home screen. The app has been developed with the same HTML5 technology that powers the mobile web and is therefore very versatile and optimized for mobile use.
With HERE Maps for iOS you can get smart directions to navigate your way around town, whether you’re driving, walking or taking public transportation, so let’s have a closer look at all the features available.
What is HERE Maps for iOS?
With HERE Maps for iOS you can save an area to your device, so you can explore even without data coverage. You can save an area in advance and use it later at up to 4 different zoom levels.
Since you don’t walk on the same routes you drive, HERE Maps for iOS gives you dedicated voice guided turn-by-turn walk navigation that guides you along the best route for walking there: pedestrian routes, through parks, down alleyways, and more. With voice navigation, you will spend less time looking at your phone and more time enjoying getting there.
Because HERE Maps for iOS has been designed for urban use, the voice navigation only works for journeys on foot. However, there’s also public transportation and driving directions in over 500 cities and you can make transfers easily with detailed public transport connections. With live traffic information and incident notices, you know where the traffic is, so you can spend less time driving there and more time being there.
With HERE Maps for iOS you can organize favourite places by categories such as “Hip Bars” or “Cheap Eats” and sync them withHERE.com so you can build your personal map on the go and easily find them again.
For instance, you can add a place to your favourites on your phone and post a review when you get home: wherever you are, you’re always in sync. This feature is very easy to use because you can sign-on with your Nokia or Facebook accounts.
On an iPad you can also see the top 25 places nearby at a glance: HERE Maps automatically displays up to 25 best places near you in a scroll window at the bottom of the screen. Simply tap a place and get all the details or scroll down and filter your results by category (shopping, going out, sights and more).
Whether you’re making plans for later or just want to share a great new find, HERE.com lets you share locations with just a tap, including how to get there, with a simple link sent over SMS, email, or social networks.
Introducing HERE Maps for Firefox OS
Because one of the main attributes of HERE is its openness, we’re also partnering with Mozilla to create new location experiences for Firefox OS. In the coming months, we will introduce HERE Maps for Firefox OS and we’ll continue working, together with Mozilla, to give people the best mapping experience on the OS.
One more thing… HERE Android API
HERE Maps for iOS and Firefox OS are not our only effort to give everyone the ability to use the best location platform in the world. Today, we’re also introducing HERE Maps API for Android, which will made available to partners in the next months.
In apps built with the HERE Android API, users will be able to interact with extruded 3D buildings, search for specific buildings and preview their routes in detail to more realistically show where they’re going.
To showcase what partners can offer when they build Android apps with our HERE API, we have prepared a reference app in the following video.Read more about HERE for iOS, Android and Firefox OS here:http://conversations.nokia.com/?p=103078 In apps built with the HERE Android API, users will be able to interact with extruded 3D buildings, search for specific buildings and preview their routes in detail to more realistically show where they’re going. To showcase what partners can offer when they build Android apps with our HERE API, we have prepared a reference app in this video.
Disclaimer: this is not an actual app that we are releasing in the Google Play Store, it is just a reference app we have developed to showcase which features we are offering to partners for their location-based Android apps.
Follow us on Twitter: @heremaps.
HERE: the next generation of location services [Nokia Conversations, Nov 13, 2012]
Mapping and location-based services are integral to Nokia’s future and a key way that we stand out from the crowd.
Nokia’s commitment to building the leading location offering is demonstrated every day around the world in its rich set of location-based apps like Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport, Nokia Maps, Nokia Pulse and Nokia City Lens. Quite literally, Nokia helps people navigate their world. But this is only the tip of the iceberg: as a result of our acquisition of NAVTEQ and other mapping industry players, Nokia was the first to build the world’s most accurate and comprehensive global digital map by sending teams to verify every street in every city.
The next step forward – sensing our world
We can do more with our location heritage and mapping expertise, and go beyond a digital version of the paper map. Maps can be more than getting a person from point A to point B. They should bring places to life and inspire us to sense our world.
This is why today we are introducing HERE, the world’s first location cloud that delivers a location platform, location content and location apps across any screen and any operating system.
Just like digital cameras created possibilities that were unthinkable with analog photography, today’s digital mapping has amazing potential to grow into what we call computational cartography, the ability to produce maps on-demand and tailored to their actual use cases. Today’s digital maps are generic – i.e. always the same, irrespective of the content they visualize. We also believe that this game-changing evolution in mapmaking should be available to more businesses and more people around the world – it should expand beyond cars and beyond Nokia devices.
“Location based experiences need to evolve from an app-centric approach towards a holistic customer experience; consumers want services that are optimized for multi-mobile device use and available on demand, everywhere”, said Thilo Koslowski, VP and Lead Automotive Analyst, Gartner.
What does it mean?
Nokia Lumia and HERE are naturally made for each other, providing the best location experience on a smartphone, but we aren’t reserving HERE just for Windows Phone. Instead, we are opening it up to all devices and operating systems to give everyone, with any type of device, the possibility to recognize and the ability to use the best location platform in the world. This openness is what sets HERE apart from other digital maps in the world. And with HERE, location will be an even more powerful differentiation for Nokia.
We’re making HERE Maps available for iOS in the Apple App Store as a HTML5-based app and introducing HERE Maps API for Android. We will also introduce HERE Maps for Firefox OS and we’ll continue working, together with Mozilla, to give people the best mapping experience on the OS.
We are introducing LiveSight, a technology based on a highly accurate, 3D map of the world, which provides the most precise and intuitive augmented reality experience. Nokia City Lens, developed exclusively for Nokia Lumia devices, is the first application using LiveSight.
Our industrial collection of data is about to leap a chasm with the planned acquisition of earthmine. earthmine offers a complete solution for collecting, processing, managing, and hosting 3D street level imagery.
So stay tuned. There is so much more to say in the coming hours and days and the long-term, and we’re looking forward to your continued feedback as we move ahead. You can also follow us on Twitter: @heremaps.
LiveSight: immersive experiences you can act on [Nokia Conversations, Nov 13, 2012]
Nokia City Lens, exclusively available for Nokia Lumia, is one of our most-talked-about apps and we’re very proud of it. Using the phone’s camera viewfinder, Nokia City Lens provides an augmented reality overlay view of buildings and instantly highlights places of interest. Nokia City Lens is basically turning sight into the next interface for searching the world around you. Although Nokia City Lens is powered by a complex system of collection technologies, it’s very easy to use. After all, what could be simpler to use than sight? It’s the most human sense for sensing and exploring the world.
After type pads, touchscreens and voice recognition, we want sight recognition to be another standard way to interact with the world around you. But it’s not only about sight recognition; it’s also aboutlive map information. In one word, it’s… LiveSight. Nokia City Lens, developed exclusively for Nokia Lumia devices, is the first application providing a LiveSight-enabled experience.
LiveSight is a collection of mechanisms:
3D sight interface: buildings are detected by our collection technologies with high accuracy and feeling of depth
Line of sight: with the line of sight view, only POIs in sight are displayed
Freeze frame: save a live view to inspect the city without having to hold the camera pointed at the target
Building directory: click on a building to see what is inside
This new technology is going to address everyday actions like finding a store indoor, finding your friends in a crowd or your parked car. Yes, with LiveSight you can create a place for your parked car.
“We’ve all been there — trying get to where we are going by following that dot on our phones; you take a few steps in one direction to see if the dot moves where it should; with LiveSight you can orient yourself by simply lifting up your phone and looking through the camera view finder and find your destination whether it is right in front of you or three blocks away” said Peter Skillman, head of UX Design for HERE.
You can also follow us on Twitter: @heremaps.
Innovating modern map making with earthmine [Nokia Conversations, Nov 13, 2012]
Because we know that maps are hard to get right, we have been investing and will continue to invest time and money to build the world’s most powerful location offering, one that is unlike anything in the market today. Content creation in cartography is a continuous quest to make maps more precise and to map the whole world. We useinnovative collection technologies (e.g. LiDAR, cameras, etc.) and a team of local experts to create close to perfect digital copies of reality.
Innovating map making
Map makers today have a vast array of data at their disposal and digital technology has made the map accessible to everyone. But at their core today’s digital maps are little changed from paper maps: they are static because they represent the world at the moment the data is captured and they still require a lot of work and imagination to get the most out of them.
We believe, in fact, that location services are revolutionizing how we use technology to engage with the real world. This is why we are innovating every aspect of what a cartographer does: we use data that’s never been incorporated into maps and then make sense of it in a way that transforms the experience. We are innovating what we capture, the way we capture it, and how we model to give rise to a new generation of user experiences.
Today our industrial collection of data is about to leap a chasm with the planned acquisition of earthmine.
earthmine offers a complete solution for collecting, processing, managing, and hosting 3D street level imagery. This will add competitive advantages and increased differentiation to HERE‘s Location Content and Location Platform, sustaining competitiveness in B2B (e.g. data for in-car navigation systems) and driving highly engaging user experiences.
earthmine is going to be a major asset in our arsenal of collection tools in that it complements our internal technologies with capabilities that enhance what we are already doing. The most obvious is the sensor design and integration that can be seen on a earthmine car, which enables mobile mapping and is massively scalable. And when we collect with earthmine we get the same wealth of visual and other sensor data that enables us achieve our mapmaking automation goals. By next year, with earthmine we will expand the number of countries to 31 in which we are automatically collecting 3D information. Additionally, earthmine brings advanced image processing capability and geographic information system tools that make the processed imagery and data readily available enabling us to move faster than we otherwise could.
Follow us on Twitter: @heremaps.
Fueling the future of digital maps [Nokia Conversations, Oct 25, 2012]
At the heart of any location experience is the understanding of where you are and what’s around you, an awareness often achieved by using a map. While today’s digital maps are much more advanced than the maps of just 20 years ago, they will continue to get more accurate and comprehensive, simplifying how we navigate and interact with an ever-changing world.
So, how do we build a high quality map and keep it fresh? At the core of the process is our innovative collection technologies blended with a team of local experts.
Using their intimate knowledge of local road networks and surrounding areas, these experts, who drive millions of roadways each year, use specially equipped vehicles to collect and verify location data.
Depending on local conditions, product requirements and a variety of other factors, the local drivers use distinct collection technology, ranging from highly mobile pedestrian collection tools to the sophisticated NAVTEQ True technology.
NAVTEQ True is actually composed of four unique technologies:
360° LIDAR: Rotating lasers capture 1.3 million 3D digital data points every second, which generates a virtual 3D model of the world around the vehicle.
Position Sensors: GPS and military grade Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) sensors measure the vehicle’s speed, orientation and even gravitational forces to provide highly precise location references to every point within the virtual 3D model.
Panoramic Cameras: These cameras layer in a 360° images synchronized to the 3D LIDAR points—giving us the most true to life representation of the world
High Resolution Multi-View Cameras: High-resolution images give us the opportunity to increase automation so we can more quickly bring advanced location content to more people.
Worldwide, NAVTEQ True technology is gathering an immense amount of data.
For instance, in one single day, we might collect 12 million signage images, two million panoramic images, a trillion LIDAR points, and 65 million million (65,000,000,000,000!) colour pixels. We’re not just taking pictures of the world; we’re creating a new data model of the world.
With this level of high quality data, NAVTEQ True technology is capturing real world dimension, fueling more realistic and interactive experiences. With data collected by NAVTEQ True, you can explore the world more easily and in a whole new way – you can instantly see all the best places to eat and things to do and see it right on your phone’s camera display. It’s like having x-ray vision, revealing the hidden spots you might otherwise miss.
You can experience an implementation example of the collected data in 3D with Nokia City Lens for Nokia Lumia. Simply by following the instructions on the right.
I will add to that the following NAVTEQ video giving more explanation about the excellence of Nokia’s mapping technology:
Building the most accurate and fresh map [NAVTEQCompany YouTube channel, Oct 5, 2012]
Frequently Asked Questions: Maps on Windows Phone 8 [Nokia Conversations, Oct 31, 2012]
With Windows Phone 8 officially introduced last Monday and the first smartphones based on this platform being shipped or reviewed, it’s time to have a quick overview of its location-based apps and experiences.
As you may already know, Nokia is delivering the backbone for all location experiences on Windows Phone 8 and offering Nokia Drive to all Windows Phone 8 partners, empowering this new OS with voice guided turn-by-turn car navigation.
Since we made these announcements, some legitimate questions have been asked on Twitter, on this blog and in the first reviews of Windows Phone 8. I would therefore like to summarize them and provide some clarification.
What does it mean that the Nokia Location Platform is powering the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem?
It basically means that location-based apps for Windows Phone 8 developed by Nokia (e.g. Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia City Lens and Nokia Transport), apps developed by Microsoft (e.g. Bing Maps) and apps by any other developer make use of basic functionalities provided by Nokia.
It also means that some features like offline maps are now completely embedded into Windows Phone 8. You can find this option in your smartphone settings.
Is Nokia Maps on all Windows Phone 8 smartphones?
The Nokia Location Platform is powering the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem, not Nokia Maps, which is an app. On non-Nokia Windows Phone 8 smartphones, the default mapping application is Windows Phone Maps. This is running on top of our map data. It is using our geocoding, our traffic information and our routes, but it’s ultimately developed by Windows Phone, with a custom UI, search and POI database.
Where is turn-by-turn navigation?
Nokia Drive is the application that provides voice-guided turn-by-turn car navigation on Nokia smartphones and with Windows Phone 8 it’s also being made available to other manufacturers. Nokia Drive has been rewritten from the ground up specifically for Windows Phone 8, to leverage the power of this OS and offering new features.
We are currently testing it and a beta version will be made available very soon. On a Nokia smartphone like Nokia Lumia 920, you will find a tile on the start screen that will take you to the Windows Phone Store to download Nokia Drive Beta. Other manufacturers and Microsoft will decide in which countries and on which devices Nokia Drive will be offered to their customers.
You will be very pleased to know that some of the features you have requested the most, spoken street names and route planning options to avoid toll roads, ferries, etc., have been included in this release. However, while currently in beta, Nokia Drive for Windows Phone 8 won’t support My Commute just yet and we strongly suggest you to make use of the offline maps to enjoy your travels.
What’s new in Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8?
On Nokia smartphones with Windows Phone 8, the default mapping application is Nokia Maps. We’ve been working hard during the past few months to develop a great new release specifically for Windows Phone 8. In a previous blog post I’ve explained all the features we are including in Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8 or currently working on.
While the first version of Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8 was being preinstalled on our newest smartphones (v 2.9), we were already working on an update with even more features. This is why, when you first start your new Nokia smartphone with Windows Phone 8, we encourage you to immediately update Nokia Maps and enjoy all the latest features (v 3.0).
In a nutshell, you won’t only be able to use offline maps but also offline search and routing, also for public transport. You can use turn-by-turn walk navigation or start Nokia Drive to get voice-guided, turn-by-turn car navigation. Last but not least, you will also find your way indoors with the support of venue maps in almost 18,000 buildings in 40 countries (and counting).
‘Nokia Maps offers the most advanced mobile maps offering to consumers today with largest global coverage, highest quality mapping data and true offline availability’ said Francisco Jeronimo, Research Manager, European Mobile Devices, IDC.
What’s new in Nokia Transport for Windows Phone 8?
Nokia Transport (aka Nokia Transit in North America) has also been updated with great new features. Just like Nokia Maps, we started working on a new version of Nokia Transport immediately after preinstalling it on the Nokia smartphones with Windows Phone 8. This is why you will find an update in the Windows Phone Store in coming days.
With the new version of Nokia Transport for Windows Phone 8, automatic over-the-air updates help ensure you have the latest information on schedules and routes as well as on newly supported cities. You can now get a combined segment map and detail view to orient yourself at a glance: just tap or swipe a specific segment of your journey to expand an intuitive map and detail view that easily lets you see where you are and where you need to be.
New display settings will give you the options to select miles or kilometers, the time of departure or the time you have until the next departure and plan ahead by setting time and date of your journey. From Nokia Transport, you can now also launch the turn-by-turn walk navigation provided by Nokia Maps to get to the next stop or to your final destination. The search history has also been redesigned to be easier to use and to support entries management. For example, you can now manually delete previous searches and keep the history tidier.
What is Nokia City Lens?
Nokia City Lens turns sight into the next interface for searching the world around you. The app provides information about each building or landmark in the area, giving people an at-a-glance understanding of what restaurants, museums, shops and others places of interest are nearby. Seeing a place of interest through augmented reality provides a wealth of information not available with the naked eye, allowing you to see the world around you using your smartphone instead of having to perform web searches.
The technology powering Nokia City Lens is particularly advanced and accurate. We are capturing real world dimension, fueling more realistic and interactive experiences. It’s like having X-ray vision, revealing hidden spots you might otherwise miss.
Nokia City Lens comes preinstalled on Nokia smartphones with Windows Phone 8 and we are already busy working on the next release, which you can learn more in this previous blog post.
Image credit: Walt Stoneburner