Nokia offers free global turn-by-turn sat-nav

Summary:Running on Nokia GPS-enabled smartphones, the update provides free voice-guided navigation in almost 75 countries, without data-roaming charges

...the Nokia N97 mini (but not the N97 itself), the enterprise-focused E72 and E55 handsets, the Nokia 5800 in XpressMusic and Navigation editions, the Nokia E52, Nokia 5230, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 6730 classic and Nokia X6. Support for several other phones that are already on the market will be added over the coming weeks, Vanjoki said.

From March, all new GPS-enabled, Symbian-based Nokia smartphones will come with the new Ovi Maps, and will be preloaded with maps for the country of sale.

According to Vanjoki, the new Ovi Maps will in future support Nokia's Linux-based Maemo platform, which powers the company's N900 handset.

Nokia bought the navigation company Navteq in 2007 for $8.1bn (£4bn at the time). Navteq's technology now underpins the Finnish firm's navigation services.

Nokia's launch shows "the writing's on the wall for navigation revenue", Forrester analyst Charles Golvin commented on Thursday.

"Google's move clearly punctured the navigation service balloon," Golvin wrote on his blog. "Nokia could have held out longer, but every day that passed would have weakened their position."

When Google announced its free turn-by-turn navigation service in October, the news immediately hit the shares of navigation companies such as TomTom and Garmin. That effect has now been repeated — at the time of writing on Thursday morning, TomTom's shares had dropped 14 percent on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and Garmin's shares were down 2.5 percent on the Nasdaq.

The update will make Nokia phones much more competitive against Android devices, as Google only provides free navigation in the US for now, according to Golvin.

He added that Ovi Maps was "more operator-friendly", as vector-based graphics place a much lighter load on the network and the feature will work even when out of network range.

A Google spokesman, asked whether the company might make its turn-by-turn navigation services available outside the US, said Google never pre-announces new services.

Ovi Maps

Nokia's free Ovi Maps can be used for driver or pedestrian navigation

Topics: Networking


David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't be paying many bills. His early journalistic career was spent in general news, working behind the scenes for BBC radio and on-air as a newsreader for independent stations. David's main focus is on communications, of both... Full Bio

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