WinPhoneLive.ru reports that the long beta for Nokia HERE Drive will be over soon.
The information was delivered by Pino Bonetti, Senior Marketing Communications Manager at Nokia via twitter, and he notes that the final version of HERE Drive will include traffic information.
Traffic information is already included in HERE Maps, but its absence in HERE Drive means it can not be used to aid route calculations for the fastest route.
Nokia has previously promised a My Commute service integrated into HERE Drive which will help drivers optimise even their daily commute based on traffic information, and we hope that this feature will make it to the final release also.
See a video of that feature after the break.
Microsoft has just announced that, starting today, Microsoft and Nokia are making the beta of Nokia Drive+, the companyâ€™s turn-by-turn navigation app, available for free to all Windows Phone 8 customers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.
The app allows access to full turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation, offline maps, speed limit warnings, and conveniences such as day and night modes.
The arrival of the software is the delivery of a promise Microsoft made in June 2012 at the launch of Windows Phone 8, and is also much less complicated than feared, when it was believed at one point that OEMs would first need to agree to having the software made available to their users.
Nokia has not abandoned Windows Phone 7 (in fact we know they intend to keep selling handsets running that OS for a long time to come) and have just released a Nokia Drive update for the OS.
Nokia Drive 22.214.171.12406 adds â€œSmart Routing Optionsâ€, allowing one to exclude tolls roads for example from your routing preferences, which can be handy in some locations.
The Nokia Lumia exclusive can be found in the Nokia Collection or via the QR Code.
We posted earlier today that the Maps app in Windows Phone 8 may underwhelm those who were hoping for a major change from the use of Nokia mapping data.
The only element we had missing from the interface was the actual turn by turn directions. The above video by BWOne however does give a brief look at the interface, from the 3:30 mark, which shows subtle differences from the current Bing Maps experience, but not really that much.
We also received this screen shot from a tipster also showing the interface, and which alarmingly did not come with voice guidance.
This omission may however only be regional, but even then this suggests the current issue of the have and have nots of Microsoftâ€™s global services will continue.
What the above video does demonstrate however is that apps will be able to link directly to the navigation feature, which is of course a desirable feature.
It also appears that Nokia Windows Phones will come with two navigation solutions, Maps by Microsoft and Nokia Drive +, and that Maps will be the default app, when Nokia Drive + will likely offer a much better experience. In some ways it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Special thanks to our tipster.
Nokia Germany has announced that Nokia Commute, their app which makes the daily commute easier by integrating routing and traffic information, has now expanded beyond USA into Germany, and will soon be available in UK, Italy and Russia.
The application “learns” from repeated journeys and habits based on Nokia’s navigation and GPS data and thanks toÂ live traffic information automatically offers alternative, speedier routes if appropriate.
The app is part of Nokia Drive, and should arrive as an automatic update within 7 days on German devices.
WPCentral notes that Nokia Drive in Windows Phone 8 on Nokia devices will be renamed Nokia Drive +, indicating even though the Nokia Drive app may be coming to all Windows Phones, Nokiaâ€™s own handsets will continue offering better features such as Nokia Commute, suggesting a Nokia Windows Phone remains the best choice for the best experience.
Not long ago Engadget said Nokia Drive is the best navigation system on any mobile platform. Well, we would not be WMPoweruser if we wouldn’t try to prove that, so here is a little overview and comparison to Nokia Drive on Symbian [Nokia N8 @ Nokia Belle OFW, 680Mhz processor] (of course a real comparison might be very unfair, as Nokia had to start from new on the Lumia’s app, but just to tell you what you can expect) [Note: My Commute is not available here, so I won't put it in the rating]
Letâ€™s start with usability! First of all, the Lumia is the winner in this point. It has a fast, easy and smooth interface. The Symbian’s interface is a bit more complicated and laggy, also some elements in the deeper settings are not car friendly with its small buttons and elements. I don’t know if it’s because the smaller screen, but the navigation screen’s map is somehow smaller than on the lumia…
But I also have to admit, some elements are more accessible on Symbian, for example “drive home”. While on the Lumia you have to go to options -> destination -> favorites, your home address is available as one of the direct points on the start screen in Symbian’s app. A plus for Windows Phone is the possibility to pin destinations to the start screen, which Symbian doesnâ€™t support. This allows you a quick navigation to your most important places and is very innovative! I think every Navigation should have this option.
But usability isnâ€™t everything. More important are the functions and settings, and here is Symbian the clear winner. You can navigate to contacts, home, a favorite place or search a place directly on the appâ€™s start screen. You are also able to see all POI around you â€“ on Windows Phone you have to search for a keyword, for instance â€˜gas stationâ€™, which isnâ€™t that bad although. Some things I very like about the Symbianâ€™s Nokia Drive is the option to select several categories to be shown while driving, to change between fastest, shortest and optimized route (the Lumia automatically has the optimized route without the option to change it) and that you get an alert when thereâ€™s a safety spot in front of you
Speed alerts, maps and voice guidance and an offline connection are available on both. But Symbianâ€™s Drive is connected/integrated/linked with Nokia Maps, which is also offline because it uses the same maps. When you want to browse your environment, this is not possible offline on Windows Phone as Nokia Maps is online. For some of you this function is not important as the search function does that quite well, but I always like to take a look at the environment in a maps look and feelâ€¦ Something great in Nokia Maps is the function to get directly to the Drive application. Windows Phoneâ€™s Nokia Maps has an own, special Nokia Drive which is pretty useless in a car.
Anyway, the most important thing is the navigation itself, and both do a great job! There are only some little differences. As I wrote above, Symbian notifies you about safety spots. POI on the navigation screen get shown on both, the only difference is that you can choose which ones you want to see. My N8 also was able to get the newest traffic information, which Windows Phone can do only with My Commute. Well, my Lumia 800 was faster at finding my position and calculating the route, which took about 340km.
Both promise the worldâ€™s best navigation, and it doesnâ€™t matter if Windows Phone on Symbian, both are great! You get FREE map updates and it is available almost all over the world – thanks to Nokiaâ€™s NAVTEQ technology. The navigation screen is clean and easy. You have the map view on the button right and the details like which turn to take and the speed you have on the left.
Everything is logical and easy to understand, the voice (in my case female) sounds nice. The streets it shows you are exactly the right track to take (at least Symbianâ€¦ I did not notice it on my Lumia, but maybe it appears on more complicated ways), the GPS is very accurate. So, yes, it is the best: The very best!
Even if Symbianâ€™s navigation is still better than Windows Phoneâ€™s, you have to keep in mind Nokia had to start from zero with the Lumiaâ€™s navigation and it is getting updates in a very short intervals. The Lumiaâ€™s navigation is promised to get all Symbian features, and at the latest with Windows Phone 8 Nokia Drive will be linked with Nokia Maps and both will be offline! If I had to make a table, Symbianâ€™s Drive had 95 points. Windows Phoneâ€™s had 85 points, and the next one, which is Google Mapsâ€™ navigation on the Google Nexus, had 55-60 points. I could test it a little on a friendâ€™s phone, and it was great, but still not as good as Nokia Drive, of course.
So, this was a long text. In short words it says: If you can decide between Symbianâ€™s and Windows Phoneâ€™s Nokia Drive, you should use the Symbianâ€™s one, but if you canâ€™t, you wonâ€™t be disappointed with you Lumiaâ€™s Nokia Drive, as it is still much better than the others. Nokia Maps is the very best navigation system on any mobile platform, and it is even better than some real navigation system, for example from Garmin. On our trip to Belgium we compared an older Garmin navigation system, the build-in one from VolksWagen in our car and the both Nokia Drives, and both, Symbian and Lumia, smoked the others, not only because of its easier to use interfaceâ€¦
The crown in the jewel of Nokiaâ€™s exclusive software offerings is their Nokia Drive app, and the app is set to become the centrepiece of all Windows Phone 8 handsets when it replaces Bing Maps at the end of the year.
There is still however a lot of envy in Windows Phone land for Google Maps on Android, which is generally accepted to be the best mapping solution available on a smartphone.
It should therefore be reassuring to Windows Phone users that Engadget found, at least for off-line use, Nokia Drive was not only â€œthe best purely offline navigational tool on the marketâ€ but also the â€œthe best you are going to find on a phone right nowâ€ period.
Read why in a many hundred word article at Engadget here.
The new app features:
- Make your commute smoother: Nokia Drive with My Commute learns your driving preferences and uses information about the latest traffic conditions to help you choose between the different routes you usually take to get to the places you travel most.
- Automatic day/night mode for optimum visibility: The app will automatically adjust your Nokia Lumia display for better viewing during day or night driving conditions, reducing potential distractions.
- Pin to start: find your way with a tap: You can now pin to start your favourite destinations for one-tap access to directions there.
The app should be rolling out an an update to Nokia Lumia owners over the next 1-2 days.
Read More at Nokia Conversations here.
Nokia has confirmed on their blog that they will be making Nokia Drive available for all Windows Phone partners.
The service will offer turn by turn GPS navigation in over 110 countries while developers will be able to use Nokiaâ€™s maps to build location-based apps and experiences .
They note Nokia Drive features 50 frames per second client-side rendering and only requires 10 per cent of the bandwidth when compared to traditional server-side map platforms.
It also features:
- Maps data for more than 190 countries in more than 50 languages and navigation in more than 110 countries
- Traffic alerts in 26 countries, and also allow dynamic rerouting
- Venue maps in over 5,000 shopping malls, train stations, airport, sports venues, etc. in 35 countries
- Multi-modal routing: by car, on foot (including footpaths, shortcuts, etc. in over 400 cities) and by public transportation (over 100 cities)
They note their data (via Navteq) powers four out of five cars with in-car navigation and is used by big brands like BMW and Ford.
Read more at Nokia Conversations here.