After Google Maps made the folly of increasing its pricing, everyone is shying away from using Google Maps for their mapping solutions, and there could not be a better time for other players to launch a competing mapping solution of their own. Amazon took the cue, and has been quick to launch an Amazon Maps API, as part of its Amazon Mobile App SDK offering.
Currently, the Amazon maps API is supported only on the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD devices. The new devices will also support location-based services through the Android location API, and a mapping service was absolutely necessary to complement those services.
The features on offer are pretty much standard, and include pan and zoom controls with an option for satellite view. The location API will be used to display custom overlays, as customized pin markers. Additionally, the Amazon Maps API also promises an easy migration from Google Maps.
The mapping data in this API is being provided by Nokia, as confirmed by Dr. Sebastian Kurme, a spokesperson for Nokia.
Amazon is licensing the Nokia Location Platform (NLP) for maps and geocoding.
Amazon´s decision to choose the Nokia Location Platform is further proof point that our competence in this space is a key differentiator also for other leading players in the industry to offer great location consumer experiences.
Currently, the public mapping space is dominated by Google at large, with Open Street Maps being its only competitor. Device and platform specific maps are provided by Apple and Nokia as well, but Nokia is clearly emerging as a major enterprise-mapping provider with most of Yahoo maps, Bing maps and now Amazon Maps being powered by its map data.
The Amazon Maps API is in its beta state currently, and requires developers to apply for access through the Amazon Mobile App SDK portal.