Intel takes on Google and Apple with UK map launch

Having been gifted some free PR by Apple, and its well documented map troubles, Intel has launched its M8 map into the UK.

It’s a tough market to break into. You already have Google maps as well as the likes of Nokia, TomTom, which also this week launched its Android app — although that comes with a price tag.

But unlike that, Intel’s M8, which it’s dubbing “Your Local Mate”, is free and combines mapping capabilities with community information, traffic updates and social media.

Developed by Israeli firm Telmap, which Intel snapped up last year, it is promising superior European coverage and more content than Google Maps.

You’re might already be familiar with it as Telmap has been providing mapping services to the likes of Orange and Vodafone.

On the trip I took around London’s Shoreditch it worked very smoothly. You tap explore, type in the address and like any good satnav the phone starts reading out turn-by-turn directions.

It also has a pretty rich range of content partners in the shape of Lonely Planet, Yelp and TripAdvisor if you’re looking for bars or restaurants.

It has some neat little features too. Looking for coffee? Tap eat and drink and it will search listings for the nearest Starbucks or Cafe Nero.

Looking for your near tube? Same thing. It will also save you time by checking how many bikes are available at your nearest Barclays Cycle stations before you walk there.

On local services it definitely outstrips Google Maps and the driving directions seem very good.

It needs a bicycle option. That would be very handy for many Londoners.

Another element to M8 is the look and feel of it. There is a gamification theme going on. You can for instance change your red car icon. Mostly to other cars, but there is a duck too — and yes it quacks.

That’s one area that M8 plans to develop in future to allow people to personalise their mapping experience. This is an area that Telmap says might provide additional revenues, which at launch is mostly coming via the partnerships it has with the likes of Yelp and TripAdvisor.

It is available on the iPhone, Android and soon on the Blackbery although an older Telmap branded version already exists.

Definitely worth a look and an explore.