Finland-based Nokia describes itself as the world leader in mobile phones, but you wouldn't know that, based on all the buzz about, and soaring sales of the Apple iPhone and the ascendance of other top smartphone competitors such as the Verizon Droid, Google Nexus One, and Palm Pre. That's got to raise some hackles back at Nokia headquarters.
Nokia fought back with its suite of Ovi services (Nokia's version of an app store) last year, and most recently, with the release of free turn-by-turn navigation (it's not true text-to-speech by the way) with much of its smartphone line. Ovi Maps navigation includes free turn-by-turn navigation, walking nav, free-for-life map access and map updates for 70 nations, event guides, Lonely Planet guides and free Michelin guides. Nokia is also taking aim at the mobile Web and location-based services:
"This is part of Nokia's strategy to lead the market in mobile maps, navigation and location-based services," states Nokia. "The move is also in line with Nokia's vision that the next wave of growth will be centered on the location-aware, social internet - as the 'where' people are doing things becomes as important as the 'what' they are doing."
In addition to free turn-by-turn nav and travel guides, Nokia is offering accessories such as a car mount kit, Bluetooth headset, and a car-mount speaker to amplify spoken directions and phone conversations.
Nokia's Ovi Maps will be powered by top map and navigation firm NAVTEQ, which Nokia purchased in 2009. See the links below for Nokia model compatibility and more on the free downloads.
Nokia is correct when it states that this will dramatically increase the number of smartphone users worldwide with access to turn-by-turn navigation and related services. The approximate worldwide base of 27 million smartphone GPS navigation users could quickly double with widespread adoption of Nokia's Ovi Maps.