Nokia drops fee for navigation service

Ovia Maps offered as a free service on Nokia smartphones

Taking on Google Maps in the navigation space, Nokia introduced on Thursday a version of its Ovi Maps application for Nokia smartphones, offered at no extra cost.

The new version of Ovi Maps includes high-end car and pedestrian features, such as turn-by-turn voice guidance for 74 countries in 46 languages. Traffic information is included for several countries as well as detailed maps for more than 180 countries.

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"Before, navigation was always a premium service, which had to be paid for by the end user or the mobile operator," said Chrisof Hellmis, vice president for location services at Nokia. "As of today, navigation is free."

Nokia's announcement potentially increases the size of the worldwide installed base for GPS navigation on mobile phones from about 27 million to about 50 million, the company said. Ovi Maps features maps gained from the company's Navteq acquisition.

"You have a full-blown navigation system on the screen of your mobile phone," Hellmis said.

Ovi Maps enables downloading of maps via a PC for storage on a mobile device. Ovia Maps is available for download.

Ovi Maps is available for download for 10 Nokia handsets, including the N97 mini, 5800 ExpressMusic, and E72. Beginning March, new Nokia GPS-enabled smartphones will include the new version of Ovi Maps preloaded with local country map data.

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