Nokia will give away mapping software to its customers as well as users of Window Mobile devices.
Phones based on Linux and older Nokia and Microsoft devices will be supported in the future, the Finnish mobile phone maker said Thursday.
Mobile users can download the Smart2go maps that cover 150 countries and include 15 million points of interest, such as restaurants and accommodation. Users can store the map data on a memory card in the handset. The data can be downloaded over the air or via a connection to a PC.
Users of phones with GPS (global positioning service) or with an external GPS module can subscribe to a turn-by-turn navigation service. Subscriptions come in a variety of packages so customers can pay for a week's worth of navigation services for use while on holiday.
Prices vary based on the user's location but as an example, a one-week subscription for navigation services in Germany costs €6.49 ($8.43), one month is €7.99 and one year is €59.99.
Nokia is trying to compete with the personal navigation device market but hopes to gain an edge in offering a different pricing model. While standalone navigation device makers typically charge users for the hardware and the maps up front, Nokia is giving the maps away and charging for the navigation services as users need it.
In January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nokia announced that it would start giving away maps to Nokia customers and offering a paid navigation service. Thursday's announcement includes compatibility with non-Nokia devices, details the pricing and sets the date -- Saturday -- when the free maps will become available.
Nokia has begun focusing heavily on the location market. The Smart2go application comes from Gate5, the mapping and routing company that Nokia bought last year. In addition, Nokia last year acquired the exclusive rights to license and sublicense 700 GPS patents owned by Trimble Navigation. At the time, Nokia said that essentially every company offering a mobile navigation service would have to license the patents.
Nokia introduced another free offering on Thursday, this one only for certain Nokia phones. Users of 16 Nokia devices, which include the N95, N93, N71, N62 and N60, can download a free application that lets them search for content on their handsets. Users can search for information in calendar entries, SMS messages and multimedia files.