Ovi Maps: Nokia annouced free navigation, forever

21. January 2010 at 11:34

DSCF3543Today Nokia shared their plan to offer the Ovi Maps service,voice-guided navigation – both car and pedestrian, free of charge and with no extra costs. Until this announcement, the live navigation was a premium service only. However, this is an offensive challenge indeed. As navigation is becoming a buying factor more and more this announcement, so Nokia, should increase the number of sales. Other than that, the Ovi Maps version has been updated and comes with a bunch of new features and a reworked UI. At the moment there are ten devices supported, more to come in March. If your device is supported go to maps.nokia.com and download it. However, there are many open questions like how Nokia want to get revenue with navigation now or how they want to advertise Ovi Maps in future.

”Why have multiple devices that work that work in only one country or region? Put it all together, make it free, make it global and you almost double the potential size of the mobile navigation market ,” explained Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President, Nokia. “Nokia is the only company with a mobile navigation service for both drivers and pedestrians that works across the world. Unlike the legacy car navigation manufacturers, we don’t make you buy maps for different countries or regions even if you’re only visiting for a few days. We offer both navigation and maps free of charge, with all the high-end functionality and features that people now expect.”

“The large-scale availability of free-of-charge mobile phone navigation offerings using high-quality map data will be a game changer for the navigation industry,” said Thilo Koslowski, Vice President Automotive and Vehicle ICT at Gartner. “Such offerings will accelerate mass market adoption for navigation solutions and shift innovation focus to location-based services that go beyond traditional routing benefits.”

For Nokia, removing the costs associated with navigation for drivers and pedestrians allows the company to quickly activate a massive user base to which it can offer new location features, content and services. This is part of Nokia’s strategy to lead the market in mobile maps, navigation and location-based services. 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.

According to research firm Canalys, the number of people worldwide using GPS navigation on their mobile phones was approximately 27 million at the end of 2009. With this announcement Nokia potentially grows the size of this installed user base to about 50 million by enabling smartphone owners, with compatible devices and devices that will be made compatible shortly to activate free drive and walk navigation through a simple download of the new Ovi Maps. Nokia will further grow this base as it quickly adds more smartphones to the compatible devices list. Canalys also estimated in 2009 that the installed base of smartphones with integrated GPS was 163 million units worldwide, of which Nokia accounted for more than half (51%) having shipped cumulatively 83 million GPS devices.

“This is a game changing move. By leveraging our NAVTEQ acquisition, and our context sensitive service offering, we can now put a complete navigation system in the palm of your hand, wherever in the world you are, whenever you need it – and at no extra cost,” continued Anssi Vanjoki. “By adding cameras at no extra cost to our phones we quickly became the biggest camera manufacturer in the world. The aim of the new Ovi Maps is to enable us to do the same for navigation”