First, Samsung announced that Nokia’s HERE Maps would be the default navigation app on their Tizen-powered Gear S. That wasn’t so surprising. What is really a big surprise is the news that HERE Maps is coming to Samsung’s Android-powered smartphone range as well. Android has Google Maps built in, so this move is significant.
A strong feature of HERE Maps is the ability to use it without an internet connection, as well as access to turn-by-turn voice navigation. HERE Maps for Samsung’s Galaxy phones will be able to pair with the Samsung Gear S to sync routes with the smartwatch.
For now, HERE Maps for Android will be exclusive to Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. Perhaps, some other Android OEMs will consider similar deals to enable them offer HERE on their devices too.
These new developments beg the question: What exactly is Samsung up to? Are the Koreans gradually reducing their dependence on Google? First, they ditch Android Wear for Tizen on the Gear S, ditch Google Maps there as well, then push Google Maps aside on their Android smartphones too. Forget whatever Google says in public about this: they can’t be very happy right now.