Skip to main content
June 23, 2011

Nokia N9: Drive & Maps

GLOBAL – Continuing our exploration of all things new in the Nokia N9, it’s time to turn our attention to maps and navigation. Rather than a simple copy of Maps on Symbian phones, there has once again been a rethink and innovation in the way navigation is handled. How so? Read on for the details.

Perhaps the most striking difference, for someone coming from a Symbian device, is that navigation has been split between two apps: Maps and Drive. Matthias Mohlig, who led R&D for Drive explains that:

We wanted to create a better, more intuitive experience for car drivers, to encourage them to use their phone for navigation. And so the Drive application works just like a regular car satnav, so most users already know how to use it.

The user interface needed to be slimmed down and refined to reflect a driver’s expectation of how it should work:

It needed to be really easy to view things – because the screen might be at arm’s length when mounted in a car. For the same reason, there’s big buttons on the screen. And the default view is the standard driving 3D view that takes you through the traffic – though the other views are available, of course.

Maps, on the other hand, is more similar to the existing implementation on Symbian devices. It’s better suited for walking, or for working out how to get to a place before you leave home. Matthias compares the difference neatly:

Maps is about finding places to go. Drive is about finding where you are and taking you to where you need to be.

Both apps have their place, but split, they offer less of what you don’t need and more of what you do.

Let us know what you think in the comments. And if you want more on the Nokia N9 Maps and Drive apps, there’s also a good post on the Ovi blog.