Nokia to offer free, worldwide turn-by-turn navigation

Nokia has dropped a bombshell and will be offering free turn-by-turn navigation on its smartphones. This is according to a Reuters report which I found via Engadget. The report is apparently based on a release of some kind from Nokia which I haven’t been able to locate yet Update: This news seems to be part of a broader Ovi Maps announcement. There is some great coverage on GigaOm.


As the Reuters report pointed out, this is bound to have an impact on more traditional GPS device producers like Garmin and TomTom. I’ve been using Ovi Maps on my N97 for navigation and it is excellent, when it works properly. The maps are more appealing, visually, although it can be a little difficult to search for and find places. That being said, Ovi Maps just keeps getting better with each release and I have seen an update that is still being tested internally which will make Ovi Maps an even better navigation option.

Nokia has been promising some pretty interesting location-based stuff using Ovi Maps as the core application for those services. It could make a huge difference to how we use location in our day to day activities so I hope it can pull it off and execute well. Nokia is facing increasing competition from Google and Apple, both companies have arguably more compelling devices based on more dynamic and appealing user experiences. Upcoming Symbian updates could change perceptions about Nokia’s products, though.

I am curious to see what happens next. Ovi Maps look better than Google Maps but I find that I can locate places a lot easier on Google Maps on my N97. Google Maps doesn’t look as good and we don’t have turn by turn navigation here in South Africa just yet but I think that will change. When it does, South Africans will have yet another option. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google roll out turn-by-turn in time for the World Cup either.


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