Nokia Maps is definitely one of Nokia’s biggest software successes. However, with the presentation of Nokia Drive many people wondered if Nokia Maps will find a worthy place in the software suite of the new Lumia devices. Thankfully, the people at Nokia did a good job as they turned Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps in two separate applications which when combined are just irreplaceable. While Nokia Drive is more like a GPS turn-by-turn navigation, Nokia Maps has a more social feel as it gives you the ability to highlight favorite places, points of interests and etc.
Nokia Drive will be a default application in the new Lumia devices while you’ll have to download Nokia Maps from the Windows marketplace. As you know Nokia Maps is one of Symbian’s best applications and this move gives the programming team some time to fix the glitches and furthermore improve the application’s quality for Windows Phone.
Nokia Maps is expected to hit the marketplace by the end of year and it will be available exclusively for Nokia Windows Phone devices.
Some people got the opportunity to test the beta 0.99.0.0 version of Nokia Maps at the Nokia World event and we already have some opinions. The Maps engine runs rather smoothly for a beta version and includes the basic features like Search, Places and Favorites. Besides them, you also have the settings tab which allows you to customize the application’s look & feel.
The initial release is expected by the end of the year and firstly Nokia Maps will be a separate application, but it certainly would be great to see it integrated with the rest of the Windows Phone’s environment. We must admit that we weren’t expecting such good opinions about the application as there was very little time between the announcement of the Nokia Windows Phone and their release and therefore the developers at Nokia shouldn’t have had enough time to release a stable (although beta) version of Nokia Maps. However, it is a pleasant surprise to see that they have done a good job and we are eager to see the application’s functionality in future, official versions.