Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nokia to Offer Free Navigation Software


Nokia has announced that it will be offering free Navigation software on about ten of its smartphones. The no-strings-attached-offer will let users use the navigation in their handsets without having to connect to the internet. It will include turn-by-turn directions, voice prompts, travel guides, and other features.

Nokia hopes the move will help sell smartphones. "It will serve as a defense to our product prices," Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia's head of marketing, said in a statement.

Recently, Nokia has seen its rivals Apple (with the iPhone) and Research in Motion (with its Blackberry devices) take a share of its sales. However, analysts say Nokia is also attempting to compete with Google, which is already giving away its own mapping software with the Motorola Droid and all smartphones using the Android operating system. Some say users of all smartphones will start to expect free navigation software to be a standard smartphone feature from other companies such as Microsoft, RIM, and Samsung, affecting the whole market.

Either way, the move is sure to put pressure on TomTom and Garmin, the two biggest mapping leaders. Tomtom already sells navigation software for iPhone for $70 and the move could negatively affect that type of software, as well.

Currently, Nokia users can download free Ovi Maps from its website.

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