Nokia has announced that it will make its HERE mapping SDK available to Android handset manufacturers who want to integrate Nokia’s mapping service into their upcoming devices. Nokia’s demo of HERE in San Francisco was impressive and did a good job at highlighting the company’s proficiency at mapping. Nokia has reminded the audience that it is one of the few companies in the world to be so proficient at it.
On Android the low-hanging fruit is to use Google’s own mapping system which is already well integrated in Android, and we will have to see how well Nokia does on that particular platform. However Android is simply too big to ignore, and Nokia may find ways to convince OEM (device manufacturer) partners to jump on board, especially if they find the right mix of features and financial incentives.
Nokia specifically said that the SDK would be available to “OEMs” rather than individual developers. This means that if an OEM chooses to use Nokia Maps instead of Google Maps, third party apps (Yelp, Trulia…) that use Android’s mapping API would be fed with Nokia Maps data, no app changes required. Getting OEMs on board may appear difficult, but in the end, it’s an better alternative than going after individual app developers.