Navigation software is now free for Nokia GPS phone owners
Now walk-n-drive navigation free for Nokia's 'smart' users

In a disruptive move that is bound to set off ripples of change in the personal navigation business, Nokia has made walk and drive map-based guidance free across its entire range of GPS- fuelled smart phones.

In a global announcement by Executive Vice President, Anssi Vanjoki, on Thursday, Nokia said the free navigation software could be downloaded as a new version of Ovi Maps for any of the company’s smart phones from  

The mapping and navigation software has been specifically designed for mobile use and will include all essential car and pedestrian navigation features, such as turn-by-turn voice guidance for 74 countries in 46 languages, and traffic information for over 10 countries, as well as detailed maps for over 180 countries.

Users of a Nokia GPS smart phone – the web site lists X6, E52, E55, E 72, N 97 mini, 6710 Navigator, 7630 classic, 5230, 5800 Xpress Music and  5800 Navigation edition – can download the maps by entering their phone number. The download is around 30 MB in size.

“We want to make using your mobile for navigation as familiar as using it to send a text or take a picture. We believe that making the best maps with voice guided navigation available for free will be the catalyst to do this,” Vanjoki explained, “Why have multiple devices that work in only one country or region? Put it all together, make it free, make it global and you have something that is truly useful and can help you get round almost any city in the world whether you’re on foot or driving.”

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“Until today, Navigation has been kept in the hands of the few. Today that changes. We realised that billions of people around the world already have mobile phones that are perfectly suited to delivering Navigation. So we’re going to let them do that. From this day on, Navigation on your Nokia, with Ovi Maps, will be free for everyone, everywhere, to get people to the places they love. Now, and forever.”

D. Shivakumar, Managing Director, Nokia India, adds: “This is a strategic move that will be the game-changer for the industry. We believe that offering the world’s best maps with full navigation features and premium content at no extra cost will be the catalyst that drives mass market and penetration of mobile maps in India.”

Research firm Canalys, estimates the number of people worldwide using GPS navigation on their mobile phones at 27 million at the end of 2009. Nokia hopes to increase this to about 50 million by enabling most of its smartphone owners and and further growing the list of compatible devices. Canalys also estimated in 2009 that the installed base of smartphones with integrated GPS was 163 million units worldwide, of which Nokia accounted for more than half . 

January 21 2010. In India Nokia is the dominant handset brand with a market share  estimated to be in excess of 65 percent.  However smart phones make for a  relatively small proportion of handset sales, in a market heavily driven by price. - Jan 21 2010