HERE Maps to bring Android and iOS versions up to Windows Phone's level

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There's an interesting interview with Sean Fernback, Senior Vice President, at Nokia’s HERE division, over on The Next Web, where he talks all things HERE Maps, including some quotes which have been misunderstood. Far from abandoning Windows Phone, for which the HERE suite is 'done', it's all about bringing iOS and Android versions up to the same level.

From the interview:

...“It was always the ambition to be on Android, we just took a decision at the beginning of the year to accelerate the program,” explained Fernback, in a frank opening to our interview. “And also to ensure when we talk about apps, we’re serving both common platforms, which is, of course, Android and iOS.”

“As a result of the transaction, we’re having to wind down our Windows Phone app development and shift it over towards Android and iOS,” explains Fernback.

Fernback did stress that support for Windows Phone isn’t being phased out completely, not at the moment at least. It’s just limiting the resources it throws at the platform, including time and money spent developing for it. “It’s a dialogue we’re having [with Microsoft], so we will see where it takes us,” he continues.

WP 220x366 HERE and now: Nokia’s curbing Windows Phone development in a bid for mapping supremacy    WC2 220x366 HERE and now: Nokia’s curbing Windows Phone development in a bid for mapping supremacy

....“It’s a ground-up development, and Android is a greenfield development, as is iOS,” adds Fernback. “We have a master codebase which, the way we’ve structured it, means it’s platform agnostic. So if we decide that we want to invest in the Windows Phone app again, we would take that new codebase and compile it for Windows.”

As I read this, I don't think there's any need for Windows Phone users to worry, other than about losing HERE Maps/Drive exclusivity. The HERE applications for Windows Phone are effectively 'done', with every feature implemented and mature, and just the map data now being added to. So the HERE team is now directing all its development efforts into bringing Android and iOS versions into being, to the same standard.

The 'if' in the quoted sentence is a little worrying, perhaps, but that's referring to a year or two away and there's a lot of platform juggling, discussion and negotiation that has yet to happen before any final decisions are made. And note that Fernback said 'Windows', referring to the new, all-inclusive branding for Microsoft's platforms going forwards.

Fernback goes on to emphasise the timescales involved:

“It’s a long program – what we ship this year will be the start of what will be a great product,” he says. “We’re not trying necessarily to compete with others, or follow others, we’re trying to look at the needs and problems we’re trying to solve for consumers in urban mobility and mobile navigation.

“Wait and see, we’ve got some nice ideas, we’re trying to look at some unique problems that others possible aren’t solving, and I’d like that to remain a surprise.”

....Whether Nokia can make big inroads on Android and iOS, stealing a piece of the Google Maps pie, remains to be seen. But fresh from its acquisition of personalized travel planning platform Desti, it seems the wheels are very much in motion to create a more-than-viable cross-platform alternative.

Nokia’s HERE should be landing for Samsung Galaxy devices shortly, with support for iOS and other Android devices to follow by the end of 2014.

Interesting stuff, and there's definitely no need for concern for current Windows Phone users, though it's still disconcerting to see the 'Nokia' name in these contexts totally divorced from the Lumia handsets that still ship with the 'Nokia' brand plastered on their front. Confusing world, isn't it?

Source / Credit: The Next Web