Nokia maps apps coming to iOS and Android, no internet required

Finding its way to other platforms

Free from the burden of smartphone and tablet hardware, Nokia is refocusing efforts on new mapping products intended for the very mobile platforms the Finnish firm once considered to be the competition.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Nokia about its plans to serve up all-new mobile apps sometime by the end of the year.

Rather than focus on former partner Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform, the new apps will make a beeline straight for iOS and Android, where they will be offered free of charge from Apple's App Store and Google Play.

Both of those smartphone titans already have their own free mapping solutions, but Nokia's new apps will specialize in downloading maps for offline use instead of needing an active internet connection for navigation and routing details.

Here, there, everywhere

This certainly won't be Nokia's first time at the iOS mapping rodeo. Two years ago, the company unleashed HERE Maps app for iPhone, essentially a weak mobile website in sheep's clothing, which was unceremoniously yanked from the App Store last year.

"It was a rushed product that was never thoroughly proven," said Sean Fernback, the Nokia executive tasked with overseeing the mobile-centric reboot. "Honestly, it went horribly wrong. But we've regrouped now."

Nokia doesn't expect the new mobile map initiative to bear financial fruit anytime soon, and has no immediate plans to support the smartphone and tablet apps with ads, which Google places prominently alongside search results.

In addition to offline maps, Nokia's iOS and Android solutions will also include support for searching without an active internet connection; the company announced a similar initiative late last month for Samsung's fledgling Tizen OS.