Nokia has hinted at a sale of its HERE mapping and location unit since April, when it announced its merger with Alcatel-Lucent and a strategic review of HERE. The rumors at the time pegged Uber and unnamed German carmakers to be interested in the acquisition, then were more substantiated last month when Bloomberg revealed that the trio of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz were the most likely candidates. Read More
Nokia, in their continuing withdrawal from the mobile phone and software industry, appears close to selling off their best remaining asset in that market: HERE Maps. According to a report by Bloomberg, Nokia will sell their mapping technology and know-how to Germany's three biggest automakers, BMW, Audi (owned by Volkswagen), and Mercedes-Benz. Though they typically compete against one another, each shares common concerns about Google's market position and privacy policies.
The report estimates the asking price of HERE to be nearing $4 billion USD, though the final offer may be closer to $2.5 billion. While that sounds like a big number, HERE is a product of Nokia's acquisition of NAVTEQ for $8.1 billion in 2008. Read More
Shortly after confirming the rumors of its talks with Alcatel-Lucent yesterday, Nokia has announced today that it does indeed intend to buy the French firm. The deal would combine both European companies' assets under the Nokia Corporation name, with headquarters in Helsinki and a strong presence in France. No cash transactions would be involved, instead the acquisition is a public exchange offer whereby 0.55 Nokia shares are offered for every Alcatel-Lucent share. The valued total amounts to 15,6 Billion Euros.
The merger has been approved by both companies' boards of directors and should be closed by 2016 if it gets the regulatory go-ahead. Once done, current Alcatel-Lucent shareholders would own 33.5% of the combined company and Nokia shareholders the remaining 66.5%. Read More
Just yesterday, HERE Beta sent out an update with a few minor improvements. Today, they came out like gangbusters by dropping the beta label and adding some serious polish to the app. This navigation app, perhaps the most serious challenger to Google Maps, is developed by once-ubiquitous OEM Nokia. Now, they think they are ready for showtime.
It's really a quite nice looking app and has become popular for its solid international support. Another differentiating feature is how easy it makes offline use, which is still a pain on Google Maps.
Here are the changes since the last beta update:
- New, interactive 3D maps of shopping centers and airports in 70 countries
- The route planner shows driving, public transit and walking routes on one screen so you can compare options at a glance
- You can now tap on any place icon on the map to find out more about it and how to get there
- Traffic incidents show you what's causing jams before you have to find out first-hand
- You can now download maps in the background — no need to wait around for them to finish
- You can also download voices to your SD card
- Turn-by-turn voice-guidance volume has been adjusted, so you can hear directions more clearly
- You can now use HERE on devices with 64-bit processors
The 3D maps seem really cool, but time will tell if there are enough that you'll make use of them. Read More
Nokia is taking the stage today at Slush 2014, the Eurasian tech incubator event in Helsinki, to announce its N1 tablet with Android 5.0 Lollipop. This is the original Nokia we're talking about here, the one still in Finland, that includes all the divisions that didn't get bought by Microsoft. Part of me wants to scream, "You should have taken this route 4 years ago!" while the other is just too happy to see Nokia standing on its feet and trying something again — while also reviving the Nseries monicker.
And the N1 is an impressive tablet to say the least. It follows in the Nexus 9's footsteps with a 4:3 aspect ratio display, though with a wee-bit smaller size at 7.9", a resolution of 2048x1536, and a zero air-gap with the Gorilla glass 3 that's on top of it. Read More
Update 10/2/14: The initial beta APK (1.0-124) started showing an expiration message and stopped working, but a newer beta APK (1.0-172) has popped up. We've validated its legitimacy, and it indeed no longer shows the expiration message. Download it here (thanks, Branko Kostic!).
Last month Nokia announced that it would release a version of its highly-regarded HERE mapping and navigation app for Android, but only to licensed partners, starting with Samsung. Late last week an APK for a beta version of HERE, labeled as 1.0, was posted to MediaFire and spotted by Spanish language Android enthusiast site El Android Libre. Read More
Nokia is generally regarded as the best maker of Windows-powered phones on the market, which is probably why Microsoft snatched them up. While most of that attention is focused on the Finnish company's solid hardware, Nokia's custom HERE mapping platform has also received rave reviews, with many saying it outperforms Microsoft's own maps. Now Nokia is bringing a beta version of HERE Maps to Android... but strangely, only on Samsung hardware.
The announcement was made on the official HERE website, highlighting the app's capability of turn-by-turn navigation without the need for an Internet connection. It achieves this by downloading cached maps for entire countries and regions for use offline. Read More
Every major corporation has to fire people at some point. But Microsoft's plan to eliminate 18,000 jobs this year is, to say the least, a big deal. The company announced its plans on a blog post titled "Starting to Evolve Our Organization and Culture," written by new CEO Satya Nadella. Former Nokia employees will bear the brunt of this downsize, with 12,500 office and factory workers from the Finnish phone giant being laid off.
Microsoft gained approximately 32,000 Nokia employees with the acquisition earlier this year. Estimates placed Microsoft's total number of employees in 2013 at approximately 100,000.
We don't wish to downplay the massive impact of those lost jobs, but this is also a pretty dire harbinger for Nokia's current Android lineup. Read More
The big question on everyone's mind when Nokia revealed the Android-powered X line was whether their new masters at Microsoft would continue the line after the acquisition. It looks like Redmond is ready for another lap around the Android pool, at least in conjunction with its extensively-customized software load, because Nokia just announced the X2 for immediate release. The 99 Euro ($135) phone is "available immediately in select countries globally." Both global and select, huh?
This is technically a second-generation phone, and the X2 is the fourth Nokia retail device to run Android, but since it's only been four months since the unveiling of the original X, X+, and XL, I'd say that this is more of an evolutionary step than a true sequel. Read More