News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday January 23, 2013.
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Microsoft today announced that it has partnered with Nokia to make Nokia Drive+ and its previously Lumia-only features, like enhanced turn-by-turn navigation, available for free to all Windows Phone 8 smartphone devices. Though the Maps application that comes standard in Windows Phone 8 handsets has Nokia-sourced maps, the Drive+ Beta that appears on Nokia's Lumia handsets has added features like voice guidance, offline maps, and speed limit warnings.
Nokia Drive+ is available for free to any Windows Phone 8 smartphone, but only if the device is used in the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada. Microsoft does not explain why there are regional restrictions, but enhanced maps covering the majority of each country are now available in the Windows Phone Store.
If you're wondering why Nokia would choose to offer a better maps app to devices that rival its Lumia product, it's because Nokia does more than just smartphone manufacturing. When MobileBurn.com interviewed Nokia's Peter Skillman and asked why go cross-platform with its Here maps and give up one less perceived advantage, Skillman said:
"Smart for a business model, wouldn't you think? Deliver the best mobile solution on every platform. You're going to make the best maps better by adding more data and more probe data means better maps for everyone."
Nokia's Here maps benefits from more data points, so expanding its user base to pick up more signals will ultimately improve the product. It's also possible that Microsoft may have paid some money or encouraged the company to open up Drive+ to more users.Windows Phone
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.