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Maps for Windows 10 Mobile soon to get 'improved drive mode' for Insider builds

The Windows Phone world is still reeling from the rather sad news that HERE is pulling their apps and support from Microsoft's mobile OS. Once a crown jewel of Windows Phone HERE is now being jettisoned for a native solution.

Speaking of built-in maps Microsoft is giving a bit of a tease about what is coming next to Insider builds for Windows 10 Mobile. In a commend on reddit, a Microsoft employee on the Maps team named Dave_MSFT gave a glimpse of what Insiders can expect in the near future:

"We have an exciting update coming soon to insider builds, including an improved drive mode. We will also be addressing other top feedback I have been collecting from you guys as well as the Windows Feedback app in this update and in updates to come. Stay tuned "

In a follow up comment, Dave expanded upon the news:

"Better drive UI is part of this initial update...We are exploring options around the arrow on the location marker (compass). Being able to search along the route is a great suggestion that I will bring back to the team. I will take your other feedback to the team as well!"

Microsoft's native Maps app has made significant progress over the last few months in adding new features and many improvements. However, building an app from scratch that should have parity with the competition is no simple task and the company clearly has a lot of work left to do.

At least for now, those who are committed to Windows 10 Mobile have something to look forward to in the immediate future. Whether or not it will meet everyone's need or improve mapping outside the US is unclear.

Further Reading

Thanks, Rudy, for the tip

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • I hope they (1) fix the robot voice, so off-putting (2) improve the 2005-era framerate and (3) make the "getting me there fast" part accurate and reliable Otherwise, I'll continue to use third party solutions or even (gasp!) Google Maps on my backup phones. Also, would it kill them to bring back Local Scout? I miss that feature.
  • Agreed. Maps is good for casual use but it's not quite accurate enough in telling you where you are, it's a little slow still, the voice navigation reminds me of that cliche "I'm going to kill my GPS because of that voice" joke, and then there's still some UI improvements I can see the potential for. Overall it's a solid application though.
  • "The Windows Phone world is still reeling from the rather sad news"" Our motto used to be "Put People First" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • I wasn't particularly saddened by the news, as I don't use HERE anymore, but I can understand why other people would be bitter.
  • To tell the truth, I'm more frustrated by the principal, and the perpetuation, of this type of news... It's becoming bad on a perception standpoint... Ironically, the good news is that HERE (and WP) aren't RELATIVELY popular, so in reality there's not too much damage that can done. Just the idea alone of loosing an app that once was a strong point for WP (and what little it RELATIVELY has) is super frustrating.. It's like a leaking dam. Not the end of the world, but still, the principal behind it suKXXXX. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • We do get good news. I'm seeing plenty of Universal Applications make their way to the Store and the Windows 10 Gems project is doing a good job showcasing them. The bad news is frustrating but hopefully it'll start to turn around with the more wide release of Windows 10 Mobile and the initial Redstone release. And hopefully Build will give us some good news soon. Either way, I'm sticking around. I'm not in it for the apps.
  • Exactly.. I could be that (and I'm sure it is) it's a temporary wave of bad news, and it'll most likely subside... I mean, we can almost predict the rest of it.. Next week it'll be Fidelity. The next week Pizza Hut, then so on, and so on, till it's done... Whatever. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Hey I'm not saying it's a certainty. But I have to be optimistic, especially when there has been quite a lot of good news. I'm using the rather fantastic Duolingo app myself to tidy up my French (or rather my lack of it). I'm not quite willing to give up my beautiful Lumias yet or really Windows as a whole, so optimistic I shall remain.
  • I understand.. Me too. But, I don't think being optimistic, or pessimistic, has anything to do with it, at this point. It's pure strategy, math, science, even fate.... If hope helped then trust me,, as many times I literally prayed to God WP would succeed it would have 300% market share by now. Lol We're basically left with our patience.. I know that IF MS has till infinity to make it work then it just depends on how much patience we have to stick by their side. Because, at some point, if they keep on trying, they will hit it. To me that's the reality, and a lot of us are EXTREMELY patient people... If anyone ever questions your patience just pull your phone out, hold it up, and say "really?"" lol. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Patience and optimism. Really, what's the difference? Either way, I'm here waiting for the change, and frankly I'm still quite content with what I have right now. The Windows Central Universal Application for Windows 10 Mobile on a Nokia Lumia 830
  • I guess they go hand in hand.☺ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Honestly, Here is over rated. Look at all the other great options we have as per the article WCentral released. These don't even get noticed but are way better. HERE only got noticed because it was a default install at one point.
  • True... But, that still doesn't take away from the fact that it's a loss. The only thing that'll make me happy is if they leave iDroid as well.. Lol. Kinda selfish, and childish, but it's true. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Come on bro. Soon you will be having a coffee and paying with the new windows 10 starbucks app.
  • Well, eventually... Not soon. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • There's nothing out there matching transit at the moment.. Posted from WC 920, 1520, 920, 635, 640 or 950XL
  • the HERE apps never really worked in Canada and I don't know anyone who uses it. I'm sure in countries where it was more popular, there are people crying their heads off. Posted via Universal Windows App on W10
  • I don't think any of that matters. At this point I don't think it matters what app it is, no matter how big, or small... The fact is that it's happening to Windows, and not iDroid. That's the issue at hand. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • There are apps that come out only for iphone and windows. Figure is one of them. And it is an amazing app, universal and lots of fun hehe
  • I think your profile picture is ice-cream ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Seriously? I've been using Here (and previously Nokia maps/Drive) for like 8 years in Canada and it's been fantastic. Many of my friends and family use it too. I'm still reeling from the demise of Here.
  • And, your profile picture looks like a hamburger. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • I use HERE Maps all the time. It's my primary navigation app, and I live in Canada. I just can't believe that they can write an app for iOS, but Win10. Why don't they just port their iOS app to Win10 or does the porting not support the universal app framework? Hell, just port it to Win10 mobile, is you can't get the universal app to work.
  • Well, maybe not bitter for me, but I have a ton of favorite places organized into categories on HERE, and if there isn't an easy way to export/import those into Windows Maps, I'm going to have to manually put them in. Also, I use HERE on my Android devices as well, and not having a common map app between my Androids and my Windows phone will also require some re-working. Just wished that HERE maps didn't have to go away for W10m.
  • True dat.. Better screenshot them, and convert them over to Maps. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Yea favorites is the only part thats currently making me scratch my head as well.
  • I rely on HERE Transit a lot. In fact, it's probably the only app that I cannot live with out. I'll stay on WP8.1 indefinitely, I guess. I don't get why Microsoft doesn't strike a deal to develop the HERE suite for Windows 10 Mobile if the only hang up is that HERE doesn't want to do the work. The official Maps app in Windows 10 is not a viable alternative to HERE Transit--neither is HERE Maps, for that matter.
  • Always sad
  • Lol same here though my municipality's transit authority does have an app but its based on an out of date buggy google maps API whereas their sites been running bing for quite a few months
  • I've briefly tried the transit route feature in the new Windows 10 Maps stock app. It seems to use the same transit database, it supports the basic point-A-to-point-B case well enough, and there is a "turn by turn" mode as well. I can't find a "stops nearby" feature, but I didn't use it much in Here Transit either. To be honest, though, I'm not a target user, as I tend to prefer my local transport authority's website. They have a nice mobile-optimised interface, and their database is certainly up to date with regards to schedule changes, cancellations, and so on. Then again, I'm good at reading maps, which for some people may be a challenge better addressed with the turn-based nav mode.
  • Sounds like quite a lot of things HERE users would take for granted would have been fixed by now. So many people say that the native app is better but it seems that would be up for debate. For one, being able to change that grating default voice.
  • A toggle to not use data (even with offline maps you can't stop the traffic updates).
    Manually change the route (drag to the street you want).
  • If you turn off Traffic under the layer options... does it still download the traffic information but just not show it?
  • My wish list is a lot more focused on the pedestrian experience : a) Use that compass/magnetometer. When in a new neighbourhood, I don't know how the streets (or the map) are/is oriented. I use HERE Maps only for this feature, if not, MS Maps, b) Pedestrian navigation is appalling: 3D view instead of 2D, speed indication (!!!), vocal guidance (embarrassing when your phone starts yelling indications) c) Favourites are not available offline (they start to vanish after a while, and a resync is needed regularly, not practical abroad)   If they can sort that out, than we can ditch HERE Maps. Improving the drive experience is sweet, but they have so much to do also on the "here maps" side, not only the "drive+" equivalent features.
  • You 3rd point is the one that I hate the most... I ended up using my mobile data to get my favourites when I was stuck in a new city where I just moved in ... I trusted the app and saved my place as favourite and went for a small purchase and when I opened the app , there was nothing but a blank map.. MS should really consider this issue..
  • It's definitely an issue. What good is an offline map if you can't use your own POIs offline? It doesn't make sense!
  • And it's funny that these guys needs our feedback for such basic ideas.. Such a shame.. Let's don't make us ( insiders ) give suggestions on basic stuffs.. Just provide all those already ..
  • i think the concept is which items are top priority. you can't just blanket say "basic stuffs." The item you mentioned I never once used in my entire life of mobile phones from iphone through android through windows phone. I wouldn't consider it basic. So, if its important to you, tell them. Some items may end up being important to *only* you in which case I'd rather them update something that applies to more people. Feedback is important. They're not mind readers like you suggest.
  • It rescued me earlier today when my TomTom failed dismally, although I've never strictly used the gps on it (mainly due to battery concerns in the car) but living in rural UK, the offline maps are a godsend.
  • I had gotten an update a few months back that actually had Cortana giving all the voice direction, it was a beautiful thing and sounded great. A couple days later another update took it away. Here's hoping they bring her back.
  • Yeah, the Cortana voice thing is (or was) the plan. The even mentioned that in January 2015. Someday, it'd be nice to actually have it.
  • #StephenColbertForWindows10Maps2016
  • That would be awesome =) Posted from WC 920, 1520, 920, 635, 640 or 950XL
  • Agreed. Local scout was one of the best features with windows phone 7.
  • would you mind explaining what Local Scout is? Posted via Universal Windows App on W10
  • Local scout basically showed you everything nearby, like restaurants, attractions, etc... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yep it was a shame to lose it with 8.1
  • They should use the voice of Cortana for navigation. Cortana should be the hart of windows 10 and all its functionality
  • I'd rather Morgan Freeman ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Also a great idea. lol Just not sufer dude... My kids turn that on their phone during trips and would much rather hear "are we there yet"..  
  • Isn't Morgan an option on Waze?
  • Yep
  • Oh, please not Morgan Freeman! Ugh! James Earl Jones or Sean Connery would be much better if I HAD to listen to a male voice. I'd much prefer a nice, sexy female voice, though. 
  • Lol
  • I live in the US and have always had Here use a UK woman's voice. I do like the idea Sir Connery's voice though.
  • If you use the UK voice you don't get street names. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Microsoft has all these skype emoji deals with disney and such. They should have characters that do turn by turn navigation. That would be neat.
  • @Daniel Rubino, they had Cortana give directions in one of the builds during October/November, I don't know why they removed it. The way these things are going, I might have to go to... Dun dun dun! Android. I hope I won't have to This comment was posted on Windows Central for Windows 10 UWP.
  • Why don't you say these in the story itself? ;) Yeah, I know. :) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Coz this is a news article. He should only put facts there not what he personally feels. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Especially since Livesight is heading out... -Mach 8 Solutions, LLC a software company.
  • "Fix the robot voice"
    It's strange because in one of the previous updates, they brought Cortana into the Maps app, and used her voice... and it was actually decent.... but then in the update after that, they removed it.  Maybe they were just testing it out... hope they bring Cortana's voice back... while also improving Cortana's voice in Cortana as well lol.  I feel she's gotten a lot more robotic sounding lately.
  • Unfortunately it is still of little use to me because for some reason it can't look up any address in my country (Bolivia) unless I switch off mobile data and WiFi.
  • They should use Cortana in maps! 
  • For me microsoft maps uses here maps voices... In finnish lumia facebook channel saying it uses here maps data and voice Lähetetty Windows 10 -puhelimen Windows Central -sovelluksesta
  • Daniel, isn't this just one more piece of the puzzle of 'uncoupling' of Nokia and Microsoft? I'm assuming once the decision was taken to write-off the Nokia purchase, Microsoft decided to 'go alone' and wind-down (and eventually stop?) making phones with the Nokia brand.  And slowly they are removing all Nokia apps (now we have Groove and other replacements).  And all of this 'uncopuling' of Nokia related items came while Microsoft had already started to develop Windows Phone 10.  Meaning, all of this change is happening at the same time plus now Panos is in charge of a new team, MS apps are now being developed for other platforms, etc, etc.  They probably wouldn't have planned it this way, but everything is coming at the same time and I'm guessing it ain't easy to plan all these parts while a new OS is being designed, developed and tested while all these other things are going on.  It obviously will take awhile, but I'm guessing it all will be worth it in the end.  The question is how long to wait....    
  • I miss Local Scout extremely much.  I was once at a going away party of a bunch of folks, almost all of them in large BioTech's and a group of them were thinking pretty seriously about going to see a new movie after the party just for old time's sake.  Now all of these people have Apple and Android gear in their pockets and yet they spent 5 minutes wondering how they'd find out when the movie times were.  I pulled out Windows phone, hit local Scount and found the times at 4 local theaters so they could decide.  Rather stunned they did the "what phone is that" and "oh really" back and forth as I introduced them to Windows Phone.  It's not like they couldn't do it on their devices, but rather that it was fast easy and something I'd been naturally doing on Windows phone for some time.  It was also handy for finding say all "Mobil" gas stations (being particular about what brand of gas I buy) in a region I'm travelling through but don't know which side of the highway (major retail areas to either side) to start searching on.  Mobile Scout info can be gotten other ways, but it was fast and got you information no matter where you were just like you were a native of the area.  Need a Best Buy in some town you've never been in?  Hit Scout and go.  I don't want to seek the "app" for that.  I just want the stuff nearby (perhaps I need other stores near it as well!) and Local Scout was awesome for that.  
  • How about adding support for HERE collections?
  • And bicycle navigation. And an equivalent to the HERE Transit app.
  • Transit is part of the Windows maps app. At least for me here in Germany...
    But I agree bicycle would be a fantastic addition! Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • The transit integration in the maps app is a joke compared to HERE Transit. Bicycle routing is a highly requested feature since the launch of Windows Phone 7. It is really sad to see how slow MS is to integrate such features with their company size. It makes it look like their development team for Windows is either way too small to achieve anything or still way to humongous big to make effective decisions for integrations.
  • Seems to depend on the Country. It works just fine in Germany and Hungary, in Romania and U.S.  it's a mess. A friend sais it's also working fine  in Ireland.
  • Advice to Microsoft: check how Here Maps android version integrates public transport (Transit).
  • Bicycle support!
  • Re: HERE collections that would depend on HERE and if they have public APIs available to 'tap' into that info. No API, cannot be done unless MS hacks the data, which as you can guess they won't do.
  • I had written a tutorial last year ( but it would require a Symbian device, and to have synced POI before Nokia accounts were deprecated. Anyway, I had anticipated and had exported all my "addressless" favourites (spots in forests, etc.) to MS maps last year ;)
  • Did you do the export manually? I should probably start doing that...
  • Read my tutorial ^^
  • At least a tool to migrate the favorites back to the Microsoft account would be very helpful. It is funny that HERE offered such a tool to move user data away from Microsoft account not so long ago.
  • By the way, what happened to Microsoft Streets and Trips? Posted via Universal Windows App on W10
  • Streets and Trips was great because you could use WAYPOINTS! I want my mapping software to allow multiple waypoints AND calculate the most effective route.
  • HERE said that MS has access to their toolset (2014) and is how MAPS was created using their platform. It "shouldn't" be an issue to code but the key word is "shouldn't."
  • Exactly what I want and what keeps me using Here
  • +1 bicycle
  • We need this faster... Not only for INSIDERS... They're just a pretty small part of the user base
  • Hello friend, it may interest you to know that Insiders isn't an exclusive group.  You can be one by opting-in.  The group and its various rings are used to release software for testing before going wide.  There are benefits and risks to being an insider.
  • And in particular, there's the new Insider Release Preview ring, which is a mostly finalized release candidate that will likely be pushed to everyone in the not-too-distant future... reminiscent of the Developer Preview program on Windows 8.x Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • I'm traveling for the first time to US in June and I already ready to get lost using this Maps app
  • You surely will get lost since Windows Maps don't support using favorites offline... If you save the place you are staying using the wifi over there and going out for purchase... You will end up finding that you can't get your favourites offline .. Which sucks...
  • I'd recommend getting something on the Android side that's cheap but good: the latest Moto G. Launch Google Maps, and you're good to go. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is great news. Never fond of HERE... especially in my Volvo where it rarely shows road names that you would really want to see. Plus I heard that Windows maps would more tell me which side of the road something is on, but it never does.
  • How about making search work ? Maps even can't find its own suggestions.
  • I live in Bakersfield, California and Microsoft's Map app actually works great for me, better than Here Maps does, so I'm fine. It never gets me lost, it worked wonderfully in Los Angeles, and the offline maps work for me too. It's already a good app for me. When I'm in Los Angeles and have to park in huge parking garages etc. the feature of being able to take the GPS location of where I parked was a godsend. Posted From Windows Central for Windows 10 Mobile on Lumia 1520
  • Ha-ha a Bakersfield fellow eh I'm from a town called Delano maybe you heard of it lol. Actually I'm originally planned Oakland CA. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android! (Nexus 5x)
  • I am not shocked this happened because an Automobile group bought here maps and these guys want make Here maps a great built in app for their Vehecles that have touch screen apps. this is going to be a dedicated app for the automotive group who bought it. they do not want to put the extra time in to get it work on smart phones or tablets but youcan use it their cars video screens 
  • That's my contention. HERE will shrink away from the consumer side of things and work with manufacturers on the backend integrating their technology. Between that and just licensing why worry about competing against Google in mobile.
  • Sometimes I can't understand the logic behind the CEO decisions. They were going to buy slack, but they have an alternative, the stronger one I mean Skype.
    They could buy here team, this had more benefits for windows ecosystem
  • So Slack was rumored and it was for $8 billion for something that is not that innovative. It is like when FB bought WhatsApp for $16B. Does that make sense? Seems crazy to me. You can't just drop $8 billion on a company if you haven't figured a way to monetize it. You do know Slack does not really make much money yet on their's another Twitter in the making. How long do you think it would take Microsoft to make back that $8 billion from Slack? I know these things are easy to say in comments, but as a CEO you do have to weigh how you spend your money. We're assuming it's a good investment because Slack is the in thing right now (like MySpace), but there is more to it than that.
  • That's his point. Why consider slack if you have a better alternative
  • Nadella didn't consider it, some of the panel in the management suggested it and Gates as well as Nadella stood against it.. He knows what he is doing..
  • HERE suite acquisition seems to me much more viable in terms of monetizing it in the long run. It is used by way more people, including such high-paying corporate customers as car producers (now compare this to mainly non-paying office workers who use Slack), it is a much more solid and refined product (not in Beta unlike Slack for quite some time!), and you can sells the offline maps, online traffic service, etc to millions of customers. I would spend up to $100 one time to have few offline maps on my phone and may be another $5-10 monthly for online traffic service, should they become non-free as is now. Multiply this by few million users, how about that? I would spend $0 for a Slack should it become non-free app It would be a much simpler decision for CEO to buy HERE than Slack and thinking how to monetize it. But this is not happening and this is sad. IMO.
  • I wish it would show me more than 1 rute in public transportation u.u
  • Another soon
  • I hope they fix the terrible lag that made me abandon it. I would seriously get notifications to turn 20 or so seconds after passing the street. 
  • I hope the voicie directions stop cutting off your music. Just fade the music or something. Sooo annoying.
  • I want an option to turn off the voice completely. I hate my music getting interrupted. I have a holder for my phone and I typically just look at the map every now and then to see where I'm going. On top of that, because of my Bluetooth in my car I have to use the option to use an alternate connection for voice which adds a nasty lag to the voice. So I'll be jamming to my music, it will suddenly stop for 10 seconds, me be like wtf, voice will speak (and sometimes say every name in the book for road I'm turning on that will last like 15 seconds), get done and by then I already missed the turn, pause 5 seconds until music comes back in.
  • Another insider build? Does this mean the final release won't be at March 17th rumored date?
  • You are either joking or an optimist...
  • Redstone build
  • And again. Microsoft is really "lucky". Every other year they have to start from scratch, even if it isn't always their fault. How long until the Maps app will offer the same well designed UI and useful features? Instead of bringing new feature to the platform (biking, indoor navigation ...) we have to wait to see old feature come back. Just like we saw for Xbox Music, Groove, Outlook Mail, People app, Edge, Photos app.
  • Silly question, but can they not offer to buy the Here Drive app, and integrate it into Maps? I like the fact that they are trying to improve Maps, but they should not have to start from scratch.
  • Why would they buy an outdated app? lol.... The Windows Maps app is way superious in design and functionality.  Since they are still using HERE's maping data, it'll only get better.  Plus, if you read into all this, it's obvious HERE is fading away from consumer mobile apps, and focusing on licensing mapping data to various companies (including Microsoft) AND putting focus on automobiles (since they are owned by a car company now)
  • Because the basic functionality that you'd assume all apps of this type would have actually works with HERE and not with MAPS. Simple things like optimizing the display for driving selecting specific road types and favorite location management should have been in MAPS on day one but we'd be lucky if they were "coming soon" whenever that may be.
  • There are two downsides: Roundabout show the number of the exit you need to take way to small, not readable when sun is reflecting the screen. And favorites are lost after some time offline.
  • More of this soon crap can we cut all news that has soon with no definitive dates or time frames
  • The opposite is no news, no info. Just leaks, rumors and wait times without knowing what (if anything) is coming next. It's like opening your gifts under the Christmas tree. Now you know, but you have to now wait. Did it make it any better? No, knowing just presents a new problem: waiting.
  • And then... Get auto manufacturers to stick in a hdmi port, and continuum your maps to the car.
  • I hate when they say they'll bring the feedback to the team. Like... Don't you use the phone yourself? Can't you figure out what's a good feature without needing to take feedback first? are they innovators or simply do'ers?
  • NOt a single bit of my feedback has ever been realized. W10 is the exactly opposite of my feedback.
  • "Your feedback is wrong", this is what apple would say now.
  • Lol- hey...Not an apple fan in any way. But at least they don't sit on their hands waiting for direction
  • I hope it is released to all insiders and not only the newest windows mobile devices as what is currently happening with the insiders build. Pfff Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • So far, when new stuff comes to the Insider builds through apps it's about 4 to 6 weeks before it goes to production. That's not bad at all.
  • So only for insiders, regular users won't see any improvement, great move.
  • Im really not