If you weren’t lucky enough to have a Windows Phone device with a third party navigation option, you’ll know that Bing Maps just doesn’t cut it as a navigation option. Strangely, this appears to be a deliberate effort by Microsoft to give their partners something else to differentiate on.
Of all the OEMs, only Nokia has really provided a compelling solution to the navigation problem. Now that Nokia’s maps are baked into Microsoft’s next iteration of Windows Phone, Nokia has promised to add to that with Nokia Drive – but not just for Nokia devices, as announced in June of this year.
But between then and now there hasn’t been any more information about this offering. There wasn’t even any talk of it during the launch of Windows Phone 8, and many of the early reviews are already citing the largely unimproved maps on WP8 as a reason for rating the platform lowly.
It seems in this case, no news is good news – as Nokia has confirmed with Pocket-lint that they are still working hard to bring Drive to the platform, and will be providing a lot more information in the coming days. The question now isn’t if it’s coming, but instead the question is how much?
We know that Nokia is using maps as a key differentiator for their Lumia devices, so we’d bet that it’s not going to be free. However, the confusing part of all of this is that Nokia is apparently hoping that developers will use Drive for location-based apps. The only two possible scenarios here are that Nokia plans to make some features of Drive available to everyone for free, or that Microsoft has allowed them to force Drive as the default mapping solution on phones once it’s installed.
Needless to say, right now we can only guess. Things should be a lot clearer by this time next week.