For the past few days, Nokia has been trying to get everyone excited about.. something. They piqued our interests by sending out press event invites (for separate events in the UK and the US, no less), then revved the hype machine with a good ol’ fashion countdown timer.
The US announcement is still a few hours away, but they just pulled back the curtain over in the UK — and while we can’t say for certain, I’m pretty sure the talk of the event will be the same on this side of the pond. The big secret? Free turn-by-turn navigation is now available for roughly 20 million Nokia handsets around the world.
To dive a bit deeper into that “20 million.. handsets” number, we’re talking about users speaking 46 different languages across 74 different countries. If Google didn’t kill the standalone GPS market when they announced free navigation for the Android platform, Nokia may very well have just pushed the knife that last inch.
Some of the features of the new, free Ovi Maps with Navigation:
- Maps are stored locally, and no continuous data connection is needed
- Traffic Information in 10 countries
- Lane assistance, speed trap warnings
- Pedestrian mode, including shortcuts only possible on foot
- Free Lonely Planet/Michelin travel guides
So why did Nokia suddenly decide to make turn-by-turn navigation free to anyone rocking a compatible handset? Besides making the somewhat antiquated S60 platform that much more competitive, it’s all a part of Nokia’s plan to snatch up a chunk of the location-based service market before things get too crowded. We had been hearing rumblings from our sources that Nokia would be putting a focus on this space, and I get the feeling this isn’t their only move – we’ll check in with our sources and see what else we can dig up.
In the mean while, anyone toting a Nokia X6, N97 mini (Note: Not the standard N97 just yet), E72, E55, E52, 6730 classic, 6710 Navigator, 5800 Xpressmusic, 5800 Navigation Edition, or 5230 can grab the new Ovi Maps with Navigation app here.