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Nokia commuter app drives to make Windows Phone more personal

At CTIA 2012, Nokia shows off an understated but useful new feature in its mapping software that could help you get to work in time.

Nokia Drive Commute for Windows Phone
The forthcoming Nokia Commute will make use of Windows Phone's dynamic live tiles.
Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

NEW ORLEANS--What if there were an accurate way for your phone to help you time your commute on a given morning? "Take Highway 280 today instead of 101; there's an accident" for instance, or "It will take you 10 minutes longer than usual today, so you'd better leave by 7:30 in order to make that 8:30 meeting."

Unfortunately, our phones aren't quite up to being quite so helpful just yet, at least not the way I envision it in my daydreams. However, Nokia is planing an update to its Nokia Drive app that's a step in the right direction.

At CTIA 2012, Christof Hellmis, vice president of the Map Platform, showed off a commute feature that makes use of Windows Phone's dynamic live tiles on the start screen.

Called MyCommute, the feature learns how long it takes to get between the starting and ending points that you program into your phone. As the app learns your patterns and collects data on how long it typically takes to get from door to door, it will update the live start screen tile with the latest estimate, like 41 minutes to complete your commute.

Drill down into the tile to see optional routes. Of course, the app begins recording your route when you go, and it both sends and receives live traffic data to more accurately estimate transit times.

The update, currently in beta, will come to Nokia Drive slated for an indeterminate time before the end of June.

Nokia Drive uses Navteq, which the Finnish company owns, for its data traffic, which is available both online and offline as a stored map.

Nokia Drive's commuter feature is only one way that the company is trying to make its apps more personal. "Being able to create compelling services," Hellmis said, "this is how we gain leverage."

Nokia CityLens
Augmented reality comes into full focus with Nokia's CityLens app for Windows Phone. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

CityLens is another feature that tries to get you interacting with your phone. The augmented reality app, like many others of its ilk, pops up nearby businesses when you turn it on and hold the phone in any direction. Selecting the business shows you more details.

Catch all the latest news from CTIA 2012.