Nokia announced it will introduce a new version of Ovi Maps including free walk and drive navigation tools, a move the handset giant claims could nearly double the size of the current mobile navigation market.
Clearly Nokia is hoping this move will position it to better compete against Google. In late 2009, Google launched the free Google Maps Navigation service for its Android operating system. On a conference call with reporters, Tero Ojanpera, Nokia’s executive vice president of services, said that the company believes its solution is better because it is less bandwidth intensive than Google’s solution. “Our maps are preloaded making it easier for consumers to use,” he said. “Other solutions are bandwidth intensive.”
Nokia’s move also will likely have a big impact on third-party navigation software providers which charge $5 or $10 per month to subscribe to their service and specialized device makers such as TomTom and Garmin.
Ovi Maps is available for download now across 10 Nokia handsets, including the Nokia N97 mini, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and Nokia E72. Beginning in March 2010, all new Nokia GPS-enabled smartphones will include the new version of Ovi Maps, preloaded with local country map data, walk and drive navigation and access to Lonely Planet and Michelin travel guides.
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