Tuesday 4 December 2012

Nokia denies working on Android smartphone

Nokia has denied reports that it is working on an Android smartphone after an ad on LinkedIn for a Linux engineer sparked off rumours that the much awaited marriage would happen. Instead, the Finnish company has confirmed that it is working on its version of HERE maps for Android.

An advertisement put out on LinkedIn, which has since been removed, suggested that Nokia was looking for ‘Principal Software Engineer, Embedded Linux Middleware'. The ad went on to say that the candidate would work in a ‘start-up environment’ developing ‘exciting new products’ for ‘future mobile technology’ for Nokia.

Since Windows Phone 8 is not based on embedded Linux and it being in the core of Android led to rumour mills working overtime on social networking websites as soon as the ad was spotted. Linux is used on the Nokia 820 and 920 phones though.

A Nokia Media Relations person Doug Dawson took to Twitter to emphatically put an end to the rumours. Tweeting from the account @DougatNokia, Dawson tweeted, “Our recently posted job is linked to our HERE Maps support for other platforms, including iOS and Android.”

While most people would’ve loved to see Nokia produce Android handsets, it doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon. Nokia bet heavily on Windows when it decided to produce WP handsets and the gamble seems to be going steadily well for it as of now. A change of routes may not figure anywhere in Nokia’s map as of now.

Instead, Nokia seems to be keen on expanding the HERE service to iOS and Android. While the iOS version has already been rolled out, Nokia had promised to work on the Android version of it. Nokia will be providing the maps SDK to OEMs of Android devices so as to offer better integration of apps with Nokia HERE. The iOS version is set to include many features that are absent for some people using the iOS 6 Maps app, like turn-by-turn navigation and information on public transportation.

Nokia had rebranded its map service Nokia Drive to HERE in November. While the service remained more or less the same, some added features like Collections, 3D maps and a maps editor became the talking point for HERE.

Some major features of the app include the ability to pick the map you need from map view, live traffic view, public transport line view, or satellite view. One more important feature is the ability to save maps to use offline. Nokia has integrated the maps with Nokia HERE's community-based features, such as the ability to access community maps created and updated by users. The iOS version of HERE contains a feature called Collections, which allows you to store locations in collections, which are then accessible with your Nokia or Facebook accounts.

After having acquired Earthmine, the mapping company, Nokia might soon launch its own version of Street View. Unfortunately, building an Android handset doesn’t seem to be on the agenda for a busy Nokia.

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