Nokia acquires gate5 AG to add mapping and navigation
Nokia has plans to be a force to reckon with in the fast growing GPS navigation area with the planned purchase of an established German company. We should see mapping and navigation on the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet in the future.
The popularity of GPS navigation seems to be exploding lately with in-car units, dash-mounted units, and integration on handheld devices. I regularly use GPS navigation with my UMPC while traveling, but have also relied on my smartphones for mapping and navigation. I found the Wayfinder solution on a Nokia N70 to be awesome, but since I switch devices so often I didn't buy the full subscription that locks you into a single device. I tether the GPS software with a Bluetooth GPS (actually the one I use is a Nokia LDW model). On my Nokia E61 running S60 3rd Edition there is a basic integrated GPS utility that gives me basic GPS status and location information, but doesn't provide a mapping solution. Nokia and gate5 AG just announced that Nokia will acquire gate5. This acquisition will give Nokia the ability to offer maps, routing, and navigation applications for their mobile devices.
gate5 AG is based out of Berlin, but has offices in various areas of the world. Their GPS navigation software is used by companies such as Siemens, Volkswagen, and DaimlerChrysler so they have an established base of software to develop and customize for Nokia. Their latest product appears to be smart2go that works in Europe and the Americas. The press release discusses the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet and how that is a perfectly sized device for GPS navigation. The purchase is planned for completion in the fourth quarter of 2006.
I have always been impressed with the high quality of Nokia products and personally look forward to seeing what type of applications we'll see from this aquisition. I have chatted with some people that don't understand how a smartphone with a small display can be used for navigation, but if you use a product with voice navigation it actually is very valuable and saved me on two seperate trips in the past.