When Microsoft swallowed up Nokia’s mobile business one of the few products it left behind was Here, Nokia’s mapping service that currently sits in third-place behind Google and Apple’s more popular alternatives. Here Maps made a short-lived appearance on iOS for about a year starting in late 2012. Now it’s heading to Android, but it’s not supported by every Android device.
Nokia announced the news on Friday morning, revealing a new partnership with Samsung to bring Here Maps to the company’s Android and Tizen-powered devices. The app should be available around the time the newly-announced Gear S hits the market, though it will also work on older Gear devices and even the company’s long-delayed Tizen smartphone.
Nokia is really pushing the Gear S-Here Maps combo though, which makes sense since the 3G capable smartwatch won’t be very helpful without a decent mapping app. The company says it redesigned its app specifically for the smaller display, and made it easy to sync across your smartwatch and smartphone so you can set a route from your phone and then follow directions right on your wrist. Here also includes all of the features you’d expect from a mapping app including GPS, turn-by-turn navigation, offline use and public transit directions.
The app should arrive sometime in October, which is when we’re expecting Samsung to release the Gear S. For most people Google Maps is still probably the better choice, but if you’re determined to get around using a Tizen smartwatch at least now there’s a reliable way to do it.