Did Nokia make a game-changing move when it followed in Google’s footsteps and started giving navigation away for free? The jury might still be out because the two giants differ quite a bit in their strategies. But apparently Nokia is seeing big demand, as the company today reports that its new version of Ovi Maps, with free walk and drive navigation, has been downloaded more than 1.4 million times.
Nokia says it reached the 1 million download mark just one week after launch. In fact, the Finnish OEM says the number of people now using Nokia for navigation is growing faster than it predicted.
Nokia says the success of the new version of Ovi Maps is a key part of its strategy to lead the market in mobile maps, navigation and location-based services (LBS). By leveraging its investment in maps provider Navteq, Nokia says it has been able to remove the costs associated with navigation for drivers and pedestrians and is quickly activating a massive user base to which it can offer new location features, content and services.
“This is great news for our third-party application developers. Within a matter of days there is an installed base of more than 1 million active users all potentially hungry for new and innovative location-aware apps,” said Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia executive vice president, in a press release. “For the operators too there is a growing opportunity to sell more data-plans and a complete navigation package to existing and new customers.”
As of Jan. 31, the top five countries downloading the new version of Ovi Maps were: China, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. The top five most popular Nokia devices installing the download were: Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N97 mini, Nokia N97, Nokia 5230 and Nokia E72.
Going forward, all new Nokia GPS-enabled smartphones will include the new version of Ovi Maps pre-loaded with local country map data, with high-end walk and drive navigation and access to Lonely Planet and Michelin travel guides at no extra cost.
While Google is still amassing and fine-tuning its maps, Nokia boasts that its maps cover more than 180 countries with car and pedestrian navigation in 46 languages.
Earlier this week, Verizon Wireless announced the launch of VZ Navigator 5.0 powered by TeleCommunication Systems (TCS), which costs $9.99 a month for unlimited access or $2.99 for one-day or 24-hour access on certain devices. That service also uses Navteq digital map content.
Filed Under: Infrastructure