Friday, July 3, 2009

Mobile map giveaway from Nokia

Nokia, the world’s largest mobile handset supplier has just released full production version of its free Ovi Map. The 3.0 version includes 3-D views (and 3-D landmarks for over 200 cities), weather information, walking and driving directions, and POI (point of interest) data from Lonely Planet, Michelin and Wcities. Ovi Maps 3.0 can be downloaded from Nokia's Web site and will work in any phone compatible with Symbian S60 3rd and 5thEdition operating system (see list of supported handsets).

[image courtesy of]

Launch of the first version of Ovi Maps coincided with the acquisition of Navteq by Nokia for U$8.1 billion in 2007. The market considered the purchase price as excessive. As one analyst put it, “…we think [it] is more about long-term control and inhibiting competition than about a financial investment in a growing asset”. But for Nokia, the acquisition was a logical step in a transformation from a world-leading handset vendor into a provider of Internet-based services and applications over a broad range of Nokia-branded devices.

As the competition for the mobile and online services market intensifies more and more companies will be prepared to bundle functional widgets with their core offerings just to maintain the position. It means there will be more and more freebies for the consumers but also that marginal industries, like mobile and online mapping technology vendors, will be devalued (that is, a few lucky ones will be bought out and the rest will struggle to compete with freebies). This is another example that online/mobile maps are becoming just a commodity.

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