Nokia is expanding its Here Beta mapping app beyond its original restriction to Samsung devices, now opening it to anyone with Android 4.1 or higher.
Nokia did not indicate if the app will make its way to the Play Store after the beta version is all polished up, so you’ll have to sideload it on your own for now.
Most of the feature set will be familiar to Google Maps users, though it has one trump card: offline navigation. You can not only save a map offline (as you can with Google Maps) but get turn-by-turn voice guidance for your next jaunt through the wilderness or when traveling overseas.
The story behind the story: While Google Maps is still the king of digital mapping, Nokia’s Here is widely respected as a worthy contender. The offline maps and navigation feature is also great for travelers who want to save on data by caching maps in advance.
But if Nokia is going to gain wider attention on Android it needs to get into the Play Store, as sideloading apps is generally the domain of enthusiasts and tinkerers.