Recently on the Windows Phone Central Podcast we were lamenting how Nokia Maps leaves a lot to be desired on Windows Phone 8. The app is a bit slow, the UI is not as intuitive and some of the information (like traffic) is hit or miss. Most people would suggest using Bing Maps (aka the native Maps application) instead but unfortunately, Nokia has removed the hard link for that app leaving users no choice on Windows Phone 8 Lumias.
While there have been some half measures to fix this by pinning tiles to your screen of your contact’s address or using Local Scout—neither felt satisfactory. Luckily, the best method has just come forward: install the hard link for Bing Maps. The app, surprisingly enough, is in the Windows Phone Store and comes from developer Mohammed Adenwala. That means Lumia users can just go and download the link and the Maps will be back on their phone (technically, they’ve always been there, they have just been hidden). Everything is there, including the ability to download offline-mapping data, making this truly the ideal situation.
We have full faith that Nokia will eventually make Nokia Maps a killer solution, but right now for many of us Bing Maps is still preferred. Regardless of your choice, the real important message here is choice and we like having the option for either mapping system. Clearly Nokia limited access to Bing Maps to reduce redundancy on the device, a noble gesture, but ironically it’s the one area where they still need some work.
You can pick up Maps here in the Windows Phone Store for no charge.