Nokia said it plans to release a new version of Ovi Maps for its smartphones that includes free high-end walk and drive navigation.
The new version of Ovi Maps includes high-end car and pedestrian navigation features, such as turn-by-turn voice guidance for 74 countries, in 46 languages, and traffic information for more than 10 countries, as well as detailed maps for more than 180 countries.
"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," said executive vice president Anssi Vanjoki.
Vanjoki claims that 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,” Vanjoki added. “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."
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…to activate free drive and walk navigation through a simple download of the new Ovi Maps,” Canalys said.
The research firm estimates that the installed base of smartphones with integrated GPS was 163 million units in 2009, of which Nokia accounted for a 51% market share.