Samsung to ditch Google Maps for Nokia?

02/09/2014

Nokia maps are soon to start appearing as default apps on Samsung’s Tizen smartphones, in a deal that would oust Google Maps.

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The new deal will see a test version of an Android app for Nokia's Here maps included free on handsets and the Gear S smartwatch.

The move is widely seen as a way to help Samsung distinguish itself from Google which oversees Android as it continues to push nits standalone Tizen operating system.

Tizen is Samsung's own operating system for running devices from watches to cameras, although the first Tizen phone has been delayed several times.

As well as Tizen, Samsung also has plans for wearable devices that use Google's Android Wear, which powers smartwatches such as the Motorola Moto 360 and LG G Watch R. Here hasn't ruled out working with Android Wear devices, but settled on Tizen first.

"Android is a fat OS," says Sean Fernback, senior vice president of Everyday Mobility at Here, explaining the Here app for Tizen wearables. "Tizen is a lighter-weight operating system more compatible with wearable technology."

"Anything that is scaling well we will adopt," says Fernback. "Wearables are a big opportunity, but we haven't seen the best of it yet. We are watching the Internet of Things very closely."

Formerly known as Nokia maps, Here is also used by Yahoo, Amazon and Garmin and it provides map data for Microsoft's Bing search engine.

The map service covers 190 countries, offers turn-by-turn navigation, tourist information and public transport details. In addition, the maps can be downloaded to a device so they can be used offline.

A version of Nokia's mapping service is being specially prepared for Samsung's Gear S smartwatch. Called Here for Gear it will be a navigation system optimised to use the relatively small display on the wrist-worn gadget.

Nokia's maps division was one of the parts that Microsoft did not buy when it acquired the phone-making "devices and services" part of Nokia in 2013.

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