Nokia to offer free navigation
Helsinki, January 21, 2010
Nokia will follow Google's move by offering free navigation on its cellphones, in a move set to hurt key players in the market, a report said citing the Finnish company.
"Nokia used to charge for navigation packages that included turn-by-turn directions. That all goes away now. Now you can get turn-by-turn directions covering 74 countries in 46 languages," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
A spokesman for Nokia declined to comment.
In 2008 Nokia bought for $8.1 billion digital mapping firm Navteq -- a rival to navigation specialist TomTom's Tele Atlas unit.
"Nokia wants to maintain a high market share in devices, and this is one way of doing it, by linking them to services," said Nordea analyst Martti Larjo.
"Navigation originally was one of the services they thought they could get money from, but Google is coming (with turn-by-turn navigation), as are other competitors, so they have to do it," he said.
Google started in late 2009 to offer free navigation on Motorola's Droid model smartphones in the North American market.
Nokia offering free navigation on some 20 million smartphones is set to hurt key players on the global navigation market, including TomTom and Garmin.
Turn-by-turn navigation has been one of the key revenue sources for Nokia's services offering, and the company had said it expected one third of its targeted 2 billion euros ($2.84 billion) services revenue next year to come from navigation. -Reuters