The buy-out of Gate5 indicated that Nokia was taking a very serious attitude to navigation. As the Nokia devices are the World's most prolific handhelds it bodes well for navigation in general.
Also with one of the main manufacturers of handsets entering a market sector where data costs can be an issue it remains to be seen if the network providers start to come up with some well thought out unlimited roaming packages for data.
The announcement made by Nokia yesterday allows users with compatible devices to download free software and mapping.
See below for the full Nokia press release.
How does this all work?
Well Nokia will be pre-installing smart2go on a number of new handsets that they are producing, in particular the n95. This will also be available to download for free for a number of Series 60 phones and also for WM5.0 PDAs or SmartPhones. This smart2go application will have basic mapping functionality, in as much as you can view roads find places etc. You will also be able to plan routes with the free version.
Where Nokia make money is by selling an "upgrade" this enhances the basic mapping and can provide turn by turn navigation if the device is connected to a GPS receiver. The price of the upgrade will be displayed on your device, and we are currently waiting for information regarding this. Screenshots indicate €7.99 but it is not clear what that gives you.
The map data would appear to be provided by both Navteq and Teleatlas.
Mapping for Turn buy Turn Navigation
Navigation is available in the following countries/areas:
Alp Region (Austria/Switzerl./Alpine parts of France/Germany/Italy) *
Asia (+Middle East)
Benelux plus (Netherland/Belgium/Luxemburg/parts of Germany + France)
Brazil (Rio de Janeiro/Sao Paulo/Belo Horizonte/Campos do Jordao)
Eastern Europe (Czech Rep./Slovakia/Hungary/Poland/Greece/Baltics)
Greater China (Taiwan/China/Hong Kong/Macau)
Italy plus (Italy/South of Austria + Switzerland)
Mainland China/Taiwan/Hong Kong
Mexico (Mexico City/Monterrey/Guadalajara)
Middle East (Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates/Qatar/Bahrain/Oman/Kuwait)
Nordic countries (Denmark/Sweden/Norway/Finnland)
Russia (Greater St. Petersburg/Moscow + major roads)
Southeast Asia (Singapore/Kuala Lumpur/Bangkok)
Turkey (Istanbul/Ankara + major roads)
UK + Rep. Ireland
USA (without Alaska)
Western Europe (A/B/CH/D/DK/ESP/F/FIN/I/IRL/L/N/NL/P/S/UK )
Which as far as I am aware is the most coverage by any Navigation software on the market today. And with the pricing model, it may make it the ideal system for vacations where you pay for the turn by turn navigation in the country you are visiting.
Looking at the regions supported there could be a large amount of data to download onto your device. smart2go is really quite smart (oh please!!) about this and they have created a hybrid solution to loading maps.
The maps need to be stored on the internal memory of your device, but they can be either downloaded and managed using a map loader application and your home internet connection, or they can be downloaded over the wireless carrier.
Obviously it can be quite expensive if you do not have an unlimited data contract or even worse if you are roaming... The point is that if you suddenly have to travel to San Paulo or Macau and you are not near your PC then it doesnt matter you downoad the map and pay for the navigation and off you go. There are no other companies offering that service at the moment.
Another mechanism for funding the free application is charging for other additional content. Currently apart from the turn by turn navigation smart2go provide City Guides. From the looks of the screenshots they have deals with a number of reputable companies providing a good selection of guides.
How do I get the Software?
The software is available for download on the smart2go website. Simply click here to download the smart2go software. I have noticed that the server is a little busy and you can get error pages, but if you persevere you will eventually get the download.