Following the announcement that Google will be offering free turn by turn navigation for its Android phone users, Nokia has decided to follow suit and is giving its smartphone owners free access to its mapping and navigation software too.
Well, at this point owners of only 10 Nokia devices: Nokia X6, Nokia N97 mini, E72, E55, E52, Nokia 6730 classic, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic, Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition and the Nokia 5230. To find Ovi Maps for other mobile devices, you can download the older version of the mapping software free of charge now from Nokia’s map support website.
The new version of Ovi Maps – which uses hybrid vector maps, that are “high quality but less data intensive,” and ensure users can continue navigating even if a network connection is lost – 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.
The phone manufacturer said maps were “about half the size of bulky bitmaps,” allowing them to be preloaded on the phone and used in offline mode, reducing the likelihood of high data charges.
In the UK, handsets will come bundled with European maps, although maps for the rest of the world can be downloaded without the need for additional licenses.
Nokia said the Ovi Maps will come preloaded on smartphones released by the manufacturer from March this year.
The maps can either be downloaded using a handset’s 3G or Wi-Fi connection, or side-loaded onto the phone using a PC.
“We want to make using your mobile for navigation as familiar as using it to send a text or take a picture,” said Anssi Vanjoki, executive vice president, Nokia.
“Why have multiple devices that work in only one country or region? Put it all together, make it free, make it global and you have something that is truly useful and can help you get round almost any city in the world whether you’re on foot or driving.”