Microsoft announced on Wednesday that the Nokia Drive+ Beta turn-by-turn navigation app is now available for all Windows Phone 8 smartphones in the US, UK, and Canada. Previously, the Nokia Drive+ app was only available for Nokia smartphones, and other Windows Phone smartphones had to make do with Microsoft's Bing Maps app for navigation purposes, which lacks features like voice-guided directions.
The Drive+ app features full, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, offline maps, speed limit warnings, and different modes for day and night usage. Microsoft say that the app is still in beta while it's being fine tuned, but Windows Phone users can download it for free directly from the Windows Phone Store right now.
One of our biggest complaints with the HTC Windows Phone 8X and other non-Nokia Windows Phone smartphones was the lack of free voice-guided directions and general lousiness of the native Windows Phone 8 maps app, and it's good to see that Microsoft has addressed this. Nokia promised back in June of last year that it would make the Drive app available to all of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 partners, but today is the first time that HTC, Samsung, and other Windows Phone devices have had access to it. Nokia and Microsoft's close relationship has already resulted in Nokia providing the mapping data used by the Bing Maps app, and now Microsoft owes one more item to Nokia. Of course, with Nokia putting its full weight and trust behind Windows Phone 8 for its smartphone line, it owes Microsoft just as much.