drive

Nokia is on an updating roll this morning. The company has pushed out a new version of HERE Drive to the Windows Phone Store, introducing a batch of new features. If you find yourself looking around for your car often, or wish to view a list of turn-by-turn directions from any given route, this update is for you. But wait, there's more.

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Today, Nokia along with Microsoft have released Nokia’s famed Drive app for all Windows Phone 8 devices in the United States, Canada and the UK.  The app allows users to get full voice guided turn-by-turn navigation with 2D or 3D renderings right to their phone, including offline mapping capability.

Microsoft and Nokia famously entered into a technology sharing agreement back in February 2011 and part of that deal had to do with maps. Nokia was reportedly going to bring “mapping abilities” to all Windows Phone users but it was unclear how that would happen, including what role OEMs would play (if any at all).

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We contacted Nokia a short while ago to check in on their navigation apps and we were told to expect some updates soon. Today one of the first of the updates has arrived to bring the Nokia Drive+ Beta to version 2.1.

So what’s new? As well as the usual bug fixes they have introduced a better way to manage power consumption. Read on past the break for more details.

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Nokia have firmly established themselves as a major player in the Windows Phone market. Their devices have been consistently regarded well and their marketing efforts have seen them establish ‘Lumia’ as a powerful and recognisable brand in its own right.

With the advent of Windows Phone 8 we saw Nokia strive to produce the definitive ‘hero’ device of this generation. The Lumia 920 packs some serious specs and for some it’s seen to be the best device of this current crop of phones. It isn’t all about the speeds and feeds, it’s about a cohesive package consisting of exclusive apps, hardware and of course Windows Phone 8.

We've previously reviewed the Lumia 920, which is well worth checking out for the in-depth analysis, but it is from this perspective I’m going to look at how successful it really is.

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At the start of the year I took up driving with gusto, you see, being a Londoner I have really had little need of a car. For one reason or another, it had started to become a nuisance not driving so I decided to change my wicked, public transport loving ways and get a license to burn fossil fuels. I took an intensive course and recently passed. During the process of getting my license I bought a Lumia 800, of course, it is a wonderful device but wanted it for those free and extensive driving maps. So how does Nokias’s mapping software get on? I have been testing it for a few weeks now, read on to see how well it works.

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Nokia joined Microsoft today at the Windows Phone 8 Summit to announce a handful of new apps and a few updates to existing apps. The new apps and updates are scheduled to hit the Lumia line of Windows Phones next week.

  • PlayTo is a DLNA app that will let you share music, videos, and photos wirelessly with other DLNA compatible devices.
  • Nokia Counter is an app that will let you monitor data and voice usage.

Updates will also be pushed through to Nokia Maps, Drive, Transport and the camera app.  Here's what we know about the updates.

  • Nokia Transport will have the capability to pin a location to your Start Screen for quick reference and when tapped, will pull up all the transportation services within that area.
  • Nokia Drive will add a feature called My Commute that has your Windows Phone monitor your commuting patterns and map out the best route possible.
  • The camera app will get a few new extensions that will give the camera a self-timer, a burst mode, a panorama mode and Smart Group Shot. Smart Group Shot will take several pictures of the same group and select the most suitable facial expressions (avoiding subjects with their eyes closed, mouth open, looking away, etc.)and combine it all into one shot.  You can also choose which facial expression to use as well.

Details on when these new apps and updates will become available was left at "starting next week".  We aren't sure if we'll see all hit at once or a few at a time over the next few weeks.  As details come into better focus, we'll pass it on.

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A Russian Windows Phone community has published some details regarding upcoming updates for both Nokia Drive and Transport. The manufacturer has been praised by Lumia smartphone owners for the inventory of apps available in the Nokia Collection. So what's new in version 3 of Nokia Drive?

  • The application "learns" based on the style of driving by
  • Time travel and the density of traffic movements are tracked in real time, displaying information on the "live" tile
  • Automatic determination of time of day, with the change of color scheme cards
  • Manual adjustment of routes
  • Off-line favourite lists with the possibility of fixing tiles on the desktop.

As for version 2 of Nokia Transport, which is dedicated to public transportation (including bus and train schedules for more than 500 cities):

  • Search for public transport user's location with respect to
  • Displaying a nearby transportation: buses, trains, trams, subways, taxis, marked stops
  • Show the route with transfers
  • Support Schedule in 87 countries around the world
  • Support for fast access to Favourites
  • Advanced Search
  • Saving query history
  • Change the query without a new route
  • Faster search and installation of the route
  • Optimised application performance

Unfortunately no dates have been revealed as to when the updates will be released.

Source: WP7Forum.ru; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Nokia Drive, their mostly-offline navigation system for the Lumia series, has been hacked off the 800 and patched to work on other Windows Phones. We loaded it up on the HTC Titan to see if this was all legit and sure enough, it is.

Coming from a Chinese forum (which we're not linking), the XAP comes in at 7.35MB but of course grows dramatically once you choose and download maps. In fact, the maps are quite massive here for the States, where it weights in at 1.9GB and took nearly an hour to download and install. It's certainly not a bad piece of software but it's also nothing to go out of your way for either.

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