Finnish handset manufacturer Nokia Corporation (NOK - Analyst Report) has announced that it will expand its ”Here” Drive+ mapping application to all smartphones running on Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT - Analyst Report) Windows Phone8 OS (operating System). Nokia Lumia is the only Windows OS-based handset to have the Here branded maps.
Nokia has launched two new mapping applications, namely, Here Drive+ and Here Transit. Both the applications will be available on the Windows Phone Store soon. Drive+ provides global turn-by-turn voice navigation access even in offline mode. Drive+ also comes with additional features like ‘My Commute’ that provides travel recommendations based on traffic conditions. Furthermore, the navigational coverage within Drive+ can also be upgraded from local to global, from within the app.
Here Transit, on the other hand, allows users to chalk out travel routes and simultaneously access previous destinations and transit stations. However, Here Transit will be available on other Windows OS-based phones in select markets.
According to the company, sharing its mapping database with other Windows smartphone manufacturers will not only increase the user base of its mapping technology but will also fortify the Windows Phone8 Platform.
Nokia is committed to improve its mapping feature and has previously shared its mapping application with Apple Inc.’s (AAPL - Analyst Report) iPhone and Google Inc.’s Android-based phones. Last year, the company acquired 3D mapping service company, Earthmine, to enhance its presence in the mapping space.
According to research firm IDC, Nokia accounts for a major 79% of the total 7 million Windows phones shipped in the first quarter of 2013. This leaves Nokia with an opportunity to expand its Here application to 1.47 million Windows-based smartphones.
In the first quarter of 2013, the company’s Here segment performed poorly as net revenue declined 22% annually. We believe that sharing the mapping application with other Windows phone developers will not only improve Here’s revenue prospect but will also strengthen its mapping technology.
Currently, Nokia carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).