The Nokia Lumia 900 comes with several apps pre installed, as do many smart phones. Some of these are Nokia branded rather than Microsoft. This kind of thing has made me dubious about the Android operating system in the past as I wanted an Android experience not a Samsung Android experience or a HTC Android experience. What with them being there and all I figured id give them a test drive to see if they enhanced my experience, which leads me neatly to the first app.
A routine part of my job is performing home visits, I’m not massively familiar with the suburbs of the city where I work and need help getting about. I don’t have a Sat Nav and have always relied on my iPhone to get me where I’m going. This has been difficult with the iPhone as the GPS has always (in my personal experience) shaky at best. It occasionally stopped completely to then jump forward in time to let you know you’ve gone too far and my personal favourite widening the circle in which it believes you to be to the point it’s bloody useless. I’ve always attributed this to both the hardware and my phone network and i’m aware that the lack of turn by turn is being adressed later this year with the release of iOS6.
Nokia Drive works really well, i’m really impressed with it. I’ve only used it for a few days but it has made my job a lot easier. I’ve had no problems so far regarding positioning, i’m using the same SIM card i used in my iPhone 4 which has made me realize how much of the problem was related to the iPhone and not my carrier. I initially struggled with it however i feel that was more to do with the way i search for destinations on the iPhone not being the way you search for them on a Sat Nav. The turn by turn works well and the maps are basic but clear. It includes a display for your speed and tells you when you drive too fast (so i’m told). All in all Nokia Drive is a great addition to the Lumia 900 and it shall be missed when the trial is over.
Presumably Nokia Drive uses Nokia Maps which would make sense. As i say the maps are quite clear and basic, as it’s on for Nokia Drive (again presumably) it would seem pointless not giving it it’s own app however Bing Maps is already on the phone and is far superior. I’ve never used Bing Maps before, mainly because Google Maps exists, but it works really well and looks really good and as a result negates the need for what appears to be a sub standard standalone Nokia Maps app.
Nokia Music seems to have a few cool features. I haven’t used it because in all honesty the thought of signing up and faffing around fills me with dread. From a brief glance it looks to have some features closely akin to both Spotify and Last FM (both of which have apps available on the WP7 Marketplace). You can create a music profile which then helps you discover new artists and songs suggested to be in line with your tastes. It also offers music mixes that stream to your phone and the ability to store offline mixes to play whenever and wherever you are. It also offers dynamic gig guide which can use location data to suggest gigs close by that you may be interested in. From what i can tell Music purchased from the Nokia Music store is DRM free but personally something about having the Nokia Name attached to it puts me off. Not because I dislike Nokia but because it makes it feel like it would be locked in to Nokia in one way or another.
Nokia Drive is certainly the highlight here for me, it’s making my life a lot easier and certainly making the Lumia 900 a more attractive proposition. The fact these apps can be unpinned from the front screen and effectively ignored if you wish is good but even better they can be uninstalled meaning if it’s not your cup of tea you can wave bye bye to them.