Nokia has formally embraced its version HTML5 version of Nokia Maps when being used on iOS and Android devices. The mapping software has been in development for HTML5 mobile previously, but today marks the first day Nokia encourages its use on both platforms which it otherwise competes with.
Very little of Nokia currently embraces iOS and Android. Since the move to Windows Phone (away from Symbian and MeeGo), Nokia largely no longer operates in the technical terrain of software that overlaps with iOS and Android. The two exceptions to this are the Qt Framework, and HTML5.
It still remains unclear why Nokia Maps continues its push into HTML5. While Nokia and Microsoft may have agreed to the offering of Nokia Maps on other Windows Phone 7 devices, and possibly the entire Windows 8 device range, HTML5 still is not needed for Nokia Maps to exist. It also does not provide for a transition away from Symbian, as the Symbian codebase for Nokia Maps is still regarded as the best out there.
The answer may lie in divisions at Nokia. Since the acquisition of NAVTEQ, Nokia Maps has fallen under the umbrella of a larger, cross-division initiative at the company. NAVTEQ may wish to enter into the same domain as Telenav, which also is developing a free HTML5 turn-by-turn navigation tool. NAVTEQ may wish to offer this as a bundled service to mobile solution providers, such as offering mobile web sites the ability to initiate navigation sessions to retail, and other locations, in-browser.
Another answer may be purely out of spite. Rival company Google, which offers Google Maps, said that it intended to bring Google Maps Navigation to platforms other than Android. However, the company in years since has appeared to backtrack from that commitment, refusing to release a timetable for implementation on any other platform. Despite Google’s ethos that HTML is superior to other application platforms, Google Maps on HTML does not offer any form of turn-by-turn navigation.
The latest developments to Nokia Maps other than iOS and Android support are largely for future use. Nokia added voice navigation of instructions, but enabled it only for walking navigation. This is likely to deter from users attempting to use the voice navigation while driving, as the feature is still actively being developed.
Telenav, Nokia Maps largest competitor in the HTML5 navigation arena, has yet to release a public beta of their HTML5 navigation application. Announced in late 2011, the company said that it intended to make public access available some time in early 2012. The company is still only offering select developers access to the software in a private, closed beta.
Nokia Maps can be accessed on HTML5 devices by visiting http://m.maps.nokia.com