Nokia to Rebrand all its Navigation & Mapping Services to “HERE.” [NEWS] #MWC2013

Nokia Here and Now

MWC, Barcelona:

Nokia is taking one more step to push its mapping and devices services as a standalone business. Today, the company announced during the handset maker’s press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it would be rebranding all of its Nokia-branded mapping and navigation services as “HERE” going forward.

The Here suite comes pre-installed on the Lumia 520 and includes HERE Maps, HERE Drive and HERE Transit — a public transport guide “that you can use even in unfamiliar surroundings” Nokia’s design chief Marko Ahtisaari said today. You can pin your home location on it as well — and use that as the base for all the data. “These personal experiences are meant to help you spend more time engaging in the world around you rather than navigating your smartphone,” he said.

The company is also adding more functionality and integration into HERE, by integrating it with Sight — an augmented reality service that lets you take pictures of places to help you initiate maps and navigation functionalities. “We want to bring Sight and Location to more and more applications,” he noted.

The move is a sign of how Nokia continues to keep advancing its mapping business as a standalone effort, and as a revenue stream that may grow through partnerships with others, while it continues to exist as a suite of services for Nokia devices themselves. It could also be a sign that so far that effort has not had as much traction as Nokia would have hoped — perhaps because of the association with Nokia.

[ Image Credit: Engadget ]

Yesterday, Nokia was revealed as one of the launch app makers for the Firefox OS platform. Mozilla and its partners are taking a route (a gamble, some might argue) not focused on native apps but HTML5-based web apps to fill out content for the new smartphone platform.

This also follows along with Nokia’s intention, when it first launched the HERE brand for maps last year, to make the service available via APIs both for other Windows Phone handset makers as well as developers on Android and other platforms.

In an Interview yesterday, CEO of Nokia Stephen Elop noted the importance of Nokia’s navigation and mapping efforts and how it’s part of Nokia stepping back from being a strong brand in all cases — quite a sea change for the company.

“Instead of hearing us talk about Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive, you’ll here us talking about HERE Maps and HERE Drive but we’ll also be talking about those capabilities, or some of those capabilities being taken across a broader collection of Windows Phone devices, beyond Nokia devices,” he said.

Lets see Do we Hear about HERE in Future or will or still be called Nokia Maps, Nokia Drives. Post your opinions as comments below.

[-via TechCrunch]

Reason For the Google-Motorola Deal To be More Than Mobile Phones:

With its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Google has shown that it is ready to take its investment in mobile to the next level. It’s important to remember, however, that Motorola Mobility does more than just make smartphones.

Ostensibly, Google’s decision to purchase Motorola has as much to do with increasing its patent portfolio as it is about getting into the hardware market, with Google already committing to running Motorola as a separate business. Still, we find it hard to believe that Google will just ignore the opportunity to potentially better couple its Android operating system with Motorola-produced tablets or smartphones.

Google-Motorola Could Give Google TV a Fighting Chance

Motorola is one of the biggest players in the set-top box space, and cable companies lease its cable boxes, DVR and IPTV components to customers. While we think it’s unlikely that Google will make any major changes to this existing business, owning Motorola means that Google TV has a potential distribution strategy.

To date, Google TV has been a colossal failure for not only Google, but for the companies that have partnered with Google to bring out Google TV hardware.

Google TV has failed, in part, because the product isn’t very good and because it doesn’t offer significant value to the customer. However, even if the Google TV product was great, it would still have a hard time achieving widespread adoption in the consumer marketplace, simply because as Steve Jobs has noted, selling consumers another box is hard.

However, what prevents Motorola from offering a Google TV-enabled set-top box option to its cable customers? Making a product available doesn’t guarantee that anyone will buy it, but the better integration of Android and the Google backing could lead to more robust, higher quality Android-powered connected TV options for cable providers that are increasingly looking to edge out subscription streaming services in order to retain customers.

A Manufacturing Spin Out?

We agree with Saul Hansell in believing that within the decade — if not much sooner — Google will likely spin-out Motorola’s manufacturing business. As Hansell says, “It’s just not what [Google does], and it’s not what they need in the long run.”

The impact that the manufacturing business could have on Google’s financial reporting could be a distraction.

Nokia and RIM Ripe for the Picking

Of course, other players in the device space may feel the most immediate impact from the Google-Motorola deal.

Shares in Nokia and RIM jumped in the wake of the Google-Motorola announcement, as the market saw beleaguered mobile giants as ripe acquisition targets for companies like Microsoft. Nokia has already tied its future fortunes to Microsoft’s Windows Phone ship, why not just complete the deal and be done with it?

Assuming the Google-Motorola deal sails through without any regulatory hurdles, it could open to door for an acquisition of either Nokia or RIM

Nokia just wrote an Ovi-tuary.

Nokia’s Ovi Store, Ovi Maps, and Ovi everything else will soon be getting a name change. The Finnish company has announced that it’s “evolving” its software brand identity by renaming its service offerings to Nokia services, starting with new devices in July and August. This transition is expected to last into 2012 and was pretty much inevitable in the wake of Nokia’s hookup with Microsoft earlier this year. Part of that agreement was for Nokia software, Maps in particular, to be made available in other Windows Phone devices and across Microsoft’s range of services, so it makes sense for Nokia to literally put its name on its wares. Nothing structural will be changing about software roadmaps or plans up in Finland, this will be just a new nameplate atop the same strategy as outlined previously.