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Nokia crows about its maps amid Apple fiasco

John P. Mello Jr | Sept. 24, 2012
Nokia seized on Apple's map app fiasco as an opportunity to tout the merits of the location services in its own Windows 8 smartphones.

Nokia seized on Apple's map app fiasco as an opportunity to tout the merits of the location services in its own Windows 8 smartphones.

Complaints about Apple's map app began emerging Thursday and the media had a field day publishing embarrassing omissions and mistakes in the program, such as the absence of Shakespeare's hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon, and the duplication of the Senkaku, or Diayu, islands that have been the source of a dispute between Japan and China. Apple's map app was even labeled "dangerous" by an Irish government official for labeling a 35-acre farm as an airport on one of its cartographic renderings.

In a company blog, Nokia published a number of location benchmarks to show how its Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone compares with competitors Samsung Galaxy S III and iPhone 5. Those metrics include:

  • Ability to work without a data connection. The Lumia 920 allows maps of entire countries to be downloaded and supports positioning, search, and routing in offline mode. The Galaxy S III supports downloading of maps, but they're limited to cities in selected areas, and search and routing are unsupported. The iPhone doesn't have offline support .
  • Turn By Turn Navigation. Nokia has it for more than 110 countries; Samsung, for 30; and Apple, 56.
  • Public Transportation. Nokia and Samsung support maps for more than 500 cities and urban areas; and Apple left public transportation data out of its map mix.
  • Traffic. Nokia supports traffic information in 26 countries; Samsung, 47; and Apple, 23.
  • 3D Information. Nokia uses a custom app, City Lens; Samsung uses Google Earth; and Apple uses Flyovers.
  • Street Orientation. Nokia combines data from its map app with City Lens to create an augmented reality street view; Samsung uses Google Street View; and Apple has no support of a street view in its map app.
  • Venue Maps. Nokia supports them for 38 countries; Samsung, four; and Apple, none.

Nokia's depiction of where mobile map services support voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. At the top is a map of Nokia's coverage; Google's service is shown at bottom left and Apple, at the bottom right.

"[W]e have developed a compelling suite of applications that delivers the best location-based experiences-helping you to discover the world around you and navigate your life,"  wrote Pino Bonetti, a senior marketing communications manager for Nokia.

"Not only is this possible because the location business is strategic to Nokia, but because these apps are running on the world's most advanced location platform," he said. "Unlike our competitors," he explained, "which are financing their location assets  with advertising or licensing mapping content from third parties, we completely own, build and distribute mapping content, platform and apps."


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