I used to find myself mostly agreeing with David Pogue’s reviews and columns. But lately less often.
Yesterday Pogue reviewed Windows Phones and the new Nokia and HTC phones in particular. He mostly raves about them. I think they have nice features and I admire the design approach but I think also there are some significant problems from a user-experience perspective.
And then there’s this rave about Nokia Maps:
The Maps app in all Windows phones comes from Nokia (which owns Navteq, one of the Big Two in map data). And it is really good. It shows traffic, aerial photography, public transportation, the works. And it has none of the problems that plague Apple’s Maps app. It even lets you download map data to your phone, so you can search and navigate when you’re offline or don’t want to rack up astronomical roaming fees.
Did Pogue actually use them — or do he and I just have a radical difference of opinion?
In fact, there are huge problems with Nokia Maps. (Disclosure: I haven’t used Nokia Maps extensively on a Windows Phone; I’ve used them online, on iOS and Kindle Fire.) Most of my objections go to the user interface and user experience. But there are data problems as well.
Mike Blumenthal and I have been emailing about why, with its generally weak iOS “HERE” app, Nokia would have “blown such a major opportunity,” to use Mike’s words. It may go to Nokia’s culture or something else that is hidden from view.
Regardless, the Nokia Maps UI/UX have numerous problems and are far less elegant than Apple Maps (Apple’s problem is data accuracy).
What Nokia needs to do is buy Recce and turn its mapping initiative over to that team immediately. It should even consider throwing out its own UI, which it can’t do probably for multiple reasons, and adopting the Recce interface and user experience.
I’m interested to hear from Nokia Maps defenders about what they think is good or great about the Nokia Maps experience.