No surprises here, but the Nokia HERE Maps Modern app that debuted with the firm's first tablet, the Lumia 2520, will soon be made available to everyone with Windows 8.1 (including Windows RT 8.1). The app will be free and available from the Windows Store.
Better still, Nokia is improving the app. The new version will include:
Better performance. Offline maps load "as quickly as your computer can manage," Nokia notes, so the app is faster than using a web site. But the online stuff is getting faster too: City pages, for example, will now load up to four times faster, "thanks to the use of progressive rendering and some clever optimizations to the data transfers."
Mouse and keyboard support. Where the initial HERE Maps app only supported multi-touch, the new version will fully support mouse and keyboard control too. (I have to think this is the real reason this was a Lumia 2520 exclusive at first.) This will make the app more useful to traditional PC users.
High resolution satellite imagery. The new app will support HERE's latest high-resolution satellite imagery for a "considerable" visual improvement, especially at high zoom levels.
And more. The new version of the app adds other improvements, too. It will store your search history and routes. You can sort a list of places by their distance from you or by their rating. And it utilizes Windows 8.1 preloading technology to improve app launching times.
Nokia says that HERE Maps for Windows 8.1 will be rolled out over the "coming days", starting in North America and Europe. Nokia also provides free HERE Maps, HERE Drive+ and other navigation apps to its Windows Phone 8-based Lumia handsets.