Nokia debuts Here, cross-platform location service

The company will target competing handsets and platforms

Nokia plans an ambitious expansion of its mapping and location-based services platform beyond its own smartphones to competing devices running OSes other than Windows Phone 8, it said Tuesday.

The move is being backed with the acquisition by Nokia of Earthmine, a California-based provider of street-level 3D imaging data, and will see Nokia going head-to-head with Google, Apple and dedicated mapping companies like TomTom.

"We want to give everyone with any type of device to ability to use this, the best location platform in the industry," said Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, speaking at an event in San Francisco.

Nokia will use the "Here" brand name across its location platform.

The company hopes that by expanding its platform beyond its own handsets, it will benefit from the greater scale of the service and in turn make its own service better.

Nokia has already taken some steps towards opening up its mapping database. It has worked with car navigation system makers and other IT companies including Amazon and Oracle to license its maps, said Elop.

"We will do much, much more of this," he said.

(More to come.)

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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