Today it was announced that HERE Maps would cease from being available for Windows Phone and Windows 10 platforms from March 29th 2016, another blow to the Windows Phone ecosystem, however this time it’s hard not to face the huge reality check this reminds.
As you may, or may not, know, HERE Maps is what became of Nokia Maps, a Suite of Mapping Applications and Data which has appeared in Cars, and even used in some Satnavs, but most recently Smartphones, or more specific Windows Phones. When Nokia decided to partner with Microsoft in late 2009, one of it’s big offerings to the plate was it’s Nokia software, specifically the Nokia Maps and Drive services, which would make their Windows Phone debut on the Lumia 800 and 710. It wouldn’t be the only one, but the Mapping Suite continued to be one of the biggest unique selling points of Lumia devices.
Fast forward to today, after that not so long ago history lesson, and look how things have changed. Microsoft are still attempting to release Windows 10 for Phones to the world, and no matter where you look, you won’t see a “Nokia” logo on any of those devices, the times have changed, in our opinion for the worse, or at least in terms of Windows Phone.
During the later stages of Windows Phone 8.1, Nokia’s Mapping Suite rebranded itself to “HERE”, later following the rebrand suddenly began appearing on other platforms, you can find HERE Maps and Drive as part of their own Application now available on both iOS and Android, as well as what was it’s unique home on Windows Phone.
Then came the usual signs, something we know, and I’m sure honest Windows Phone users known all too well, suddenly the features and experience of using the HERE Mapping Software suddenly became sub-par on Windows Phone and lacking in comparison to the iOS and Android counterpart, which remains today very compelling Navigation software, and now with Windows Phone losing what was one of it’s main attractions, this really is a blow that’ll hurt the most.
Likely in order to prevent those thinking the obvious, Microsoft employees have suddenly began sharing a major update to the ‘Windows Maps’ (formerly Bing Maps) software, which it too uses HERE Mapping Data, to help slightly ease the bruise;
“Although the essence of the HERE apps lives on in the Windows Maps app, we are removing the HERE branded apps from the Windows 10 store on March 29, 2016 and will limit the development of the apps for Windows Phone 8 to critical bug fixes.”
That sounds more like it’s removed and here’s our quick fix to me. It’s a real shame, as we’ve mentioned, as the HERE Suite is a fantastic piece of Software, one at which we will continue to recommend to those on iOS or Android, as it warrants the recommendation, but when it comes to abandoning it’s roots, that’s something even we’re struggling to swallow.
What do you think?
Are we over-reacting, is Windows on Phones over … some could argue the Lumia 950 was a sign of that, however whilst it’s easy to shrug off fears of a decent Spotify or Instagram application, losing a core application is completely different, and as far as we’re concerned, this is the biggest sign of Windows Phone demise we’ve seen so far.
In more pleasant news, and more of not to leave on a bum note, here’s a collection of our Windows Phone reviews over the years, just to get you thinking back;
WINDOWS 10 FOR PHONES
WINDOWS PHONE 8.1
WINDOWS PHONE 8
WINDOWS PHONE 7 (7.5)