MWC 2013: Nokia opens up rebranded Here services to rival WP8 devices

MWC 2013: Nokia opens up rebranded Here services to rival WP8 devicesNokia has rebranded its mapping and navigation services under the Here banner and has opened them up to the wider Windows Phone community.

Not all of them, mind – unsurprisingly, it's only the Windows Phone 8 chosen ones who are getting access to the newly named Here Maps, Here Drive and Here Transit services, and even then only those in specific markets.

For now that means the US, Canada and Mexico in North America and the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy in Europe. That's not Nokia's decision, it seems, but Microsoft's, as those are the territories it's prepared to provide incentives for (i.e. hand over some cash) to make it worth Nokia's while.

As for the services themselves, the rebranding from Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive etc is all about providing greater cross-platform appeal, not just across the Windows Phone platform, but to a web-based service and eventually to Android and iOS too.

Nokia reckons the Here experience will still be best on Nokia Lumia handsets, though it isn't making too much of a claim that's more likely to drive non-Nokia users away than persuade them to invest in a Lumia.

As for what they offer, Here Maps is all about mapping (no surprise there), giving you access to maps across 90 countries both online and offline – the key advantage over rival services.

Here Drive adds turn-by-turn driving instructions to the mix with features like 3D buildings, speet limit notifications and the like, while Here Transit adds a further public transport layer to the mix.

All three services are already available in beta form from the Windows Phone store.

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