By Jonathan Weber
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Nokia introduced a mapping application for the iPhone and other platforms on Tuesday and rebranded its geo-location services under the Here.com umbrella as it sought to exploit a bright spot in its product mix.
Nokia also said it was partnering with Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, and will acquire a Bay Area start-up called Earthmine to provide 3-D street views for its maps.
The new IPhone app, created in the HTML 5 language that works on many different types of computing platform, is a clear effort to capitalize on the much-publicized weaknesses of Apple Inc's new mapping product.
Michael Halbherr, Nokia's executive vice president for location and commerce services, joked at a San Francisco launch event that the iPhone app was created "on the off chance that there are some iPhone users who want a different map."
Nokia executives stressed the advent of "computational mapping" that would allow users to generate a wide range of maps from the cloud-based Here.com services.
Mapping has emerged as a critical application in the emerging mobile computing economy.
Nokia's mapping services are seen as a strong point for the company, even as its market share in the handset business has plunged in the face of competition from Apple and makers of Android smartphones.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)