Nokia has quashed rumors that it has eyes for Google’s Android mobile operating system. After the Finnish phone maker placed a help-wanted ad for a software engineer with expertise in Linux—which Android is built on—the media began wondering whether Nokia was looking to expand its platform support beyond Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
“Our recently posted job is linked to our HERE Maps support for other platforms, including iOS and Android,” Nokia spokesperson Doug Dawson tweeted Dec. 2, putting an end to the chatter. He later added that it was for Here, “nothing more.”
Nokia introduced a Here mapping and directions app to the Apple App Store Nov. 19, hoping to take advantage of a rare Apple misstep—the poorly performing Maps app in iOS 6 that was meant to knock Google off the iPhone but instead left Apple with a black eye.
Apple CEO Tim Cook publically apologized for the app, which he described as not up to Apple’s standards. The app also wound up contributing to the October departure of Scott Forstall, a key Apple executive, who according to reports oversaw the software effort and refused to apologize for its shortcomings, leading Cook to call for his departure.
Weeks later, Apple also fired Richard Williamson, a manager who oversaw the team that developed the Maps app, according to a Nov. 28 Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the situation.
Nokia has spent billions on mobile mapping, and offers an unrivaled suite of mapping apps with its Lumia 920 and 820. Owners of older iPhones were putting off upgrades to iOS 6, not wanting to be without a reliable mapping app. It seemed a no-brainer that Nokia, which in the last few years has lost staggering amounts of market share to the iPhone and Android handsets, should flaunt its stuff and come to their rescue.
Unfortunately, Nokia was unable to translate the mapping experience on its Lumias to iPhones.
“It’s ugly, pixelated and one-dimensional,” complained one early adopter in the iTunes store.
“Apple probably let this in so that people would see what a bad map app REALLY looks like,” wrote another.
The most recent comments, as of Dec. 3, were titled “Slow crappy webapp,” “ABSOLUTE GARBAGE!” and “Really Bad.”
Even professional reviewers were irked by the free app. Wired‘s Alexandra Chang called it a “wreck” and a “buggy eyesore.”
General aesthetics aside, even many users who found the app to work fine complained that it lacked a crispness to the point of seeming blurry.
Dawson responded with a statement, saying, “As the leader in location and navigation services, Here is committed to regularly improving our mapping experience across all platforms to achieve the same high-quality experience of the native applications found on our Lumia range of devices.”
Nokia’s help-wanted ad suggests it’s taking that statement seriously.
Days after introducing Here to the iOS crowd, Nokia also placed an ad for a “Marketing Hero” for its Here apps. Based in Berlin, this hero’s main mission will be “driving market execution to increase awareness, activation and engagement across channels for Here experiences.”