Nokia's HERE Maps App: Review

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Apple's(AAPL) decision to drop Google(GOOG) Maps from its mobile devices was very big news. And, it was big news when early adopters of the iPhone 5 realized that Apple's own mapping service was a major step in the wrong direction. So disappointing, in fact, that Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized for the software and said it would be fixed.

Apple's rival, Google, is reportedly hard at work perfecting a new, standalone version of its Maps program for iOS devices. And, as you might imagine, other companies are also creating their own mapping alternatives.

Nokia(NOK) is one of those companies. Its new map app is called HERE Maps. According to the iTunes description:

"HERE Maps helps you feel like a local anywhere you go. See where you are, search and discover nearby places, and get a feel for the place. Collect places to remember or for later discovery. Explore new destinations and know instantly how to get there on foot, by car or on public transport. HERE Maps is based on the world-class NAVTEQ."

As for what's going on behind the scenes, HERE Maps looks a lot like what Nokia offers in its legendary Symbian OS smartphones. There's much more detail available to users in Nokia's app than in Apple's bare bones offering. For instance, the ever popular "points of interest" feature. Many more "hot spots" are noted for New York City than in Apple's own maps.

Overall, Nokia's mapping system is pretty good. Much better than Apple's native software. But we're still waiting to see what Google offers when it releases its new Maps app for iOS smartphones.

HERE Maps is available for downloading in Apple's iTunes store.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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