John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Nokia: Map Apps Can’t Be Built Overnight. Just Look at Apple’s.

Apple’s iOS 6 Maps publicity nightmare is a dream come true for Nokia.

As Apple was buffeted by complaints about the various failings of the homegrown mapping app that replaced Google Maps in iOS 6, its Finnish rival published a timely blog post touting its own location and mapping platforms, Nokia Drive and Navteq.

These are solid platforms, and in addition to powering Nokia’s forthcoming Lumia 920 smartphone, they’re being used by Yahoo, Microsoft’s Bing and Amazon. So Nokia has some pretty clear bragging rights in the location space, and what better time to exercise them than when a formidable competitor is under fire for replacing a perfectly serviceable mapping app with a flawed one?

“Unlike our competitors, which are financing their location assets with advertising or licensing mapping content from third parties, we completely own, build and distribute mapping content, platform and apps,” Nokia said in a post to its Conversations blog. “In other words, we truly understand that maps and location-based apps must be accurate, provide the best quality and be accessible basically anywhere. That’s been standard practice at Nokia for the past six years, and we also understand that ‘pretty’ isn’t enough.”

In support of that assertion, Nokia posted some benchmarks comparing the Lumia 920’s location services to those of the iPhone and the Google Maps-powered Samsung Galaxy S III. And, as you might imagine, Nokia’s location services come out looking pretty good — better than Google’s in most measures, and better than Apple’s in all of them.

As far as competitive digs go, Nokia’s wasn’t petulant. Really, it was more truthful than anything else. And given the company’s current predicament and its own recent public relations foibles, why not take advantage of Apple’s misfortune to tout a Nokia strength that might be overlooked in a larger smartphone battle largely defined by Google and Apple?

Said Nokia, “We believe that the best user experience comes indeed from precise data, robust processing of core platform functionalities like routing, geocoding and traffic, and by user friendly apps. All this cannot be built overnight.”

All this cannot be built overnight. Harsh. Which is not to say that Apple attempted to do that. The company has spent a lot of time and money developing its own in-house mapping solution for iOS. But perhaps it was a bit too quick to push it out the door.

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