Free Navigation Worldwide from Nokia

Nokia caused a bit of a stir last week by announcing its new free navigation service. Unlike the recently unveiled Google service that’s limited to the US, Nokia reckon its version will cover 20 million Smartphones worldwide. It’s offering free turn-by-turn navigation in 74 countries and 46 languages, with Ovi Maps available in 180 countries, and traffic updates on offer in 10. On top of that you can get safety camera warnings and pedestrian only shortcuts in 100 cities around the globe.

All in all, it’s a seriously impressive offer, which will drive another nail into the coffin of the already ailing GPS market. The whole system works offline as well, which is a major bonus, as it should extend battery life and keep the navigation working even in data dead zones (and without the roaming charges). From March this year, all new Nokia GPS enabled Smartphones will come installed with the new Ovi Maps application and pre-loaded country map data, access to location aware Lonely Planet and Michelin travel guides and walk and drive navigation at no extra cost. It’s a canny move from Nokia, and looks set to secure them a major share of the location-based service market before the landscape gets too crowded.

Basically, you need never get lost, or buy a map again. It’s quite a thought, and the fact that Nokia have suddenly decided to offer all this for free sets an interesting precedent. How will other providers respond? We’ll just have to wait and see…

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