23 stories
today

HERE ends app support for Windows Phone, Microsoft to take over development duties (Updated)

Nokia

When Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nokia’s Services and Devices division earlier in 2014, certain services which had previously been core to Nokia’s Windows Phone offerings were swallowed along with their larger brethren. The most prominent of the escapees was HERE, Nokia’s first party mapping services.

As the year progressed, the new Nokia began to shift their focus away from development for Windows Phone, instead opting to bring their services to a wider variety of users across both Android and iOS. HERE in particular was selected as a priority, being as it is a highly identifiable brand with excellent potential for growth.

Nokia will no longer update their HERE suite of apps for Windows Phone, Microsoft are to take over their duties in this area, as announced on Twitter by Aki Antman,

In a Nokia press conference Tuesday, Udo Szabo from Nokia seemed to get off a bit of a jab at Microsoft (granted, something may have been lost in translation):

When Nokia made handsets, we were a little different. Now, we are developing applications on the basis of (a) realistic market, Szabo said.

The user experience on offer may not be much different, Microsoft are to continue licensing their maps directly from HERE, while they will have sole charge of developing new features for the platform. This move was to be expected, with Redmond beginning to push their own Bing Maps to Lumia users earlier in the year, it can be expected that HERE Maps for Windows Phone may wind down in future, as it is put on the back burner.

HERE Maps

While the commitment from Microsoft to pushing new updates to current software is admirable, it is still somewhat saddening to see another one of the truly unique selling points of Windows Phone become watered down and pushed into obscurity. Hopefully, Bing Maps will continue to improve and offer better functionality to users the world over in the place of HERE maps. Given the incessant focus on rolling new features out to North American users at the expense of the rest of the globe however, it can perhaps be expected that this may not be the case.

UPDATE: Nokia, in an attempt to clarify their position on the matter have stated (in update #2 to a Dec. 9 blog post):

“we have noticed some discussions in the blogosphere about HERE on Windows Phone. We want to clarify that we are committed to providing great products and consumer experiences for Windows based phones. We will continue to support our HERE apps to ensure that they will be compatible with future versions of Windows.”

Tellingly, reading between the lines here shows other intentions. While the wording displays a commitment to ensuring compatibility, this probably entails only bug fixes and stability improvements. As such, there is still no official word on whether new features introduced in other versions of HERE maps for other operating systems will find their way to Windows Phone devices. This was confirmed by Aki Antman in a tweet:

With no further official statements from Nokia, it seems as though the situation is much the same as before, HERE maps will continue to exist on Windows Phone, but it looks like Microsoft will take over new development for Maps on the Windows Phone.

Do you think the departure of HERE will have any tangible consequences? Let us know in the comments below.

Further reading: , , ,