About a couple of days ago the Nokia Drive application on my Lumia 800 got updated to v188.8.131.524. The Marketplace however shows the version to be 184.108.40.206 and the in app version is 220.127.116.114. The previous in app version was 18.104.22.1681. Due to the difference of version numbers in the marketplace some websites are just posting the update version as v1.5. They both are actually the same. Probably Nokia made a mistake of the version number in the Marketplace.
What is new in this update for Nokia Drive?
If you had downloaded a region map from Nokia Maps for offline use, the Nokia Drive app was still using data for getting the map. It did not make use of the offline map you already downloaded. The update fixes this specific bug allowing the app to use the downloaded map and save data. This means the map is pre loaded and does not require an active data connection.
However there are some limitations, when searching for a destination the app uses online search. If you close your data connection and try to open the app, it will give an error saying that Nokia Drive requires a active data connection. So you still require a data connection but only for searches.
Critical and basic features that lack in Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps:
I must say having navigation support in so many countries on my Windows Phone is a great addition by Nokia and is still way better than the default Bing maps which does not support navigation is many countries. There are some basic things which will irritate you when using this app:
No auto map rotation according to heading: What is the point of the phone having a gyroscope and accelerometer built in when apps cannot make use of the hardware. I have got used to the maps moving according to my direction. Really not used to rotating my phone.
No way for forcing an alternate route: The phone chooses the best possible route based on what exactly? Time, distance, traffic? Well the shortest route is not always the best one. Agreed all countries do not support live traffic data support, but for those who do, this might be a good feature to include in the app. Also many times irrespective of this data I might want to take an alternate route. There should be an option to force calculate an alternate route.
No way to add a destination to favorites: I do get a history of the recent searched destinations. I don't know how many does it store in the history, however an add to favorites is definitely a must here.
No Sync with maps.nokia.com: I have no option to use the maps.nokia.com services on the Windows Phone. Nokia Ovi Maps and Google Maps both currently supports a login system and a setup where I can plan a trip or make my own maps with destinations via my desktop pc and then push the data to my phone. So these destinations are available whenever I open my maps.
No integration of Nokia Drive app with Nokia Maps app: Somehow the Nokia Maps is still far better to use than drive. However there is no integration between the two, when there should be one. Nokia Maps shows me places, Nokia Drive does not. I choose a destination on Maps and want to navigate using Drive, not possible for the moment. The app should be able to take me to Nokia Drive with proper navigation. If I want to navigate I have to search again in Drive. Two separate apps for me does not make a lot of sense.
No time stamp during actual navigation: The Nokia Drive app shows me the time it takes to reach a destination only when adding a destination (just before tapping start). Once the turn by turn navigation starts there is no time to destination info on the screen. I can only see the remaining miles and the current travel speed.
No Voice search in Nokia Drive: Bing has it, so why not Nokia?
No Directions breakdown list: The direction breakdown list is available only in Nokia Maps but not in Drive. In Drive I cannot see my breakdown of the destination route at all.
No Layers or POI: Again these are included in Nokia Maps and Not Drive. In Drive during navigation I can see some POI, but then again they are not clickable so it is basically pointless.
No Live Traffic Info: No live traffic info is available in either of the apps, Nokia Maps or Drive. This is available in Bing Maps though.
The Ovi maps found in Symbian phones are still superior to the Nokia Drive on Windows devices. This is mainly because it is one app. Firstly Nokia should try and bring all the features of the Nokia Ovi Maps. Secondly Nokia should either have one app or some how link navigation to Nokia Maps. I currently prefer the layers given in Maps about places and then getting directional navigation to them would be a great addition.
According to Nokia the apps have been separated for a specific reason. Their marketing videos suggest to Use Nokia Drive when driving for turn by turn navigation and Maps when not. However it would make sense to link these two apps or make one app with integrated navigation. Even with an integrated app Nokia can still restrict Navigation for Nokia devices only.
Users who current own a Symbian Phone shifting to Windows Phone will find these two separated apps as a downgrade rather than an upgrade. Integrating both this apps will improve features but as mentioned above even after integration more improvements would be require to bring the maps to a competitive level.