Samsung has announced that it will be including Nokia’s Here Maps — which (ignoring the web interface) was exclusive to Windows Phone as well as Microsoft’s Android-powered Nokia X platform — with its Galaxy devices. Google Maps is an immensely popular service already bundled with all Android devices that many think of as without competition. However, those that have tried Here on their Windows Phone devices swear by it.
It was also one of the best surprises for those looking to transition away from Android, but finding Google Maps hard to let go. While it will not be exclusive to Windows Phone any longer, this is great news for Windows Phone.
Imagine an Android user using Here and walking into a store looking for a new phone. If he looks at a Windows Phone device and sees his favorite navigation service waiting for him, he will be a lot more likely to switch. The more mutual services Windows Phone has with Android, the better.
Just as a reminder, Microsoft has nothing to do with Here, as Nokia is now an independent company that doesn’t make phones anymore. It is in their best interest to get as many users on their services as possible. They had tried to make a version of Here for iOS, but that had been quickly pulled. Android is the natural choice for Nokia if they are looking for the biggest user base to engage.
But why did Samsung decide to include Here when it has Google Maps? Many tech sites love talking about Google and Samsung fighting, but I don’t want to add to that. I’m sure Tizen and leverage played a factor, but I am more inclined to think that Nokia offered them a deal that was beneficial to both. Regardless, we will finally get to see Google Maps and Here go head to head, and choice is always a win for consumers.
For now, Here Maps will be available for Samsung Galaxy devices only. If you’re a Galaxy user and don’t want to use Google’s Maps, you finally have another choice.