The first fruits of that “strategic partnership” between Microsoft and Nokia are bearing fruit, and their names are the new Bing Maps and Nokia Maps. Previously both services had very distinctive visual styles — Microsoft’s colourful and dense, Nokia’s sparse and clean — but they are combining the best of both worlds in both their desktop and mobile versions.
According to the Nokia Conversations blog, simplicity is the name of the game here: “Our colour palette has been reduced to make for maps that don’t confuse the brain but present an orderly view of roads, locations and directions. We’ve also beautified our maps using the Nokia Pure font for all legends so place names are legible and elegant.”
Recently, Microsoft incorporated Nokia’s NavTeq cartography data into its existing mapping service, fleshing out areas that had limited details, while adding millions of landmarks such as parks, hotels and restaurants. These changes will be added to Bing Maps and Nokia maps on mobile, with an emphasis on providing the perfect amount of information depending on the context; neither zooming in or completely should lead to information overload.
These changes are available on m.maps.nokia.com for iOS and Android devices (through an HTML5-powered browser) or on Windows Phone through Nokia Maps (available on its Lumia handsets) and Bing Maps across all devices. Nokia is also launching a new version of its Nokia Drive software, version 2.0, with offline turn-by-turn navigation.