Unlike Apple’s Maps saga, there weren’t any complaints when Microsoft decided to ditch Bing Maps in favor of Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8 devices. If you compare the feature list of both these services, Nokia Maps is the clear winner. However, that does not mean that Bing Maps was completely useless. After all, a lot of people (read Windows Phone 7 users) have spent the past couple of years navigating the roads thanks to Bing Maps. The unavailability of Bing Maps in WP8 can prove to be a bit of an inconvenience for users migrating to the new platform from Mango phones, if they are satisfied with what they were using and don’t want to fix what’s not broken for them. Also, Bing Maps offers better mapping for some areas as compared to Nokia Maps. Fortunately, now you can get the best of both worlds by enjoying Nokia and Bing Maps side-by-side on WP8.
Nokia seems to have taken several measures to prevent users from accessing Bing Maps on WP8 but fortunately, Microsoft hasn’t proved to be so strict. Believe it or not, there is an app in the Windows Phone Store that offers a port of Bing Maps for all WP8 users! All it takes is downloading that app on your device, but do hurry before MS decides to take it down.
The third-party app is named, quite simply, ‘Maps’, and it promises to cure any craving you might have for Bing’s service, since even the icon and interface is similar to the native WP7 maps app. Maps is a complete port of Bing Maps, and you will find all the features that were present in the older version of Windows Phone devices. There is the dedicated icon for Local Scout, you can search for particular places and there’s also the ‘Points of Interest’ menu that can be accessed from the bottom bar.
Needless to say, Nokia Maps will remain unchanged and available on your device but it’s nice to have a choice, specially if Nokia Maps just isn’t good enough in your region. A lot of people have complained that Nokia’s app is a bit too slow (particularly on low-end devices), and having Maps on your phone might be a solution to that problem as well. The app is free, and works only with Windows Phone 8 devices (no Mango support), which is perfectly understandable as it isn’t needed on Windows Phone 7. So go ahead and give Maps a try, and get back the old navigational capabilities of your WP7 phone right on your new WP8 one!