Nokia’s HERE Maps is one of the most solid alternatives to Google Maps, and provides one advantage that even Google Maps still struggles to offer: offline maps and turn-by-turn navigation. After Nokia’s mobile division was acquired by Microsoft, HERE remained part of Nokia, where it was then free to pursue development of HERE for Android.
Samsung scored quite a coup recently when it announced that HERE Maps would not just be the pre-installed maps app for Tizen devices, but also for Samsung Galaxy devices – a move that is yet another indication that the South Korean giants are working to reduce its reliance on Google and Android. Samsung says that HERE for Android would be available exclusively for Galaxy devices via the Samsung Apps Store when the Gear S is officially available in stores, but the Finnish company has provided Engadget with a full version of the app for preview.
HERE Maps for Android offers Android users almost every feature that Windows Phone users have long enjoyed – offline maps, offline turn-by-turn navigation – out of the box. You can download maps by whole countries, but you can also choose to download selected states within countries – very useful for those with limited Internet connectivity…or patience: the entire US map is a whopping 4.7GB.
Once the maps are fully downloaded, you can proceed to using it offline for both viewing and driving navigation. This helps a lot especially when navigating in areas with little Internet connectivity; apps like Google Maps and Waze still require an active Internet connection to ping your precise location. And, like Google Maps, you can also select various modes of navigation: by car, public transportation or foot.
Earlier this week, a beta version of the app was leaked, allowing virtually anyone running Android 4.0 or higher to test drive the app. The app expired today, which means you can’t use the app at all, but there’s a workaround that may work for some users: you can set your phone’s date to anytime before 1 October, and the app will be usable. Head on to this MediaFire link for the APK. Do note that you’ll have to allow third-party app installations on your Android device before it can be installed at your own risk.
Regardless, HERE Maps for Android looks like a solid and reliable offline alternative to Google Maps or Waze. The app will be available for Samsung devices first, before coming to other Android devices as well as on iOS “later this year“.
(Source: Engadget, Android Police)