Nokia to offer free mapping software
Nokia plans to start offering the application for free, on Saturday February 10th, for selected Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile 5.0 devices initially and has plans to roll out support for most of the major mobile OS platforms including the full Nokia S60 series, Series 40, PocketPC, Linux and other Windows Mobile devices.
If your phone or device doesn't incorporate GPS functionality, it will easily work with an externally connected compatible GPS receiver.
Smart2go is a hybrid map solution. Map data from Tele-Atlas and Navteq can be downloaded directly via wireless network (e.g. GPRS/3G/WLAN) and stored on the device's memory card as needed, if all the desired map data is stored locally, no network connection is needed for mapping, routing and navigation.
Some screen shots of the software in action are pictured below. More here.
The software contains over 15 million point of information references, allows for mapping and routing in over 150 countries and has support for full turn-by-turn satellite navigation in over 30 countries.
As you can see from one of the images above, Smart2go comes with the option to upgrade the free software. For example you can turn the software into a fully fledged turn-by-turn navigation system by purchasing a navigation license. There are various licenses available; from a one week to a three year term. For example when traveling to a new country for holiday you may download the relevant maps via PC in advance and subscribe to the navigation service for the duration of the holiday at an 'affordable cost' - no details of what these costs are just yet.
It had been announced that Smart2Go would be pre-installed in the upcoming feature-rich PC-on-a-phone Nokia N95 (which the INQUIRER will be reviewing shortly), but Nokia have announced that the software would be also pre-loaded onto all future N-series phones. The application will be renamed Nokia Maps for pre-installed devices.
Otherwise, Smart2go will be downloadable from this site on Saturday, either as an installable program on your PC or via an SMS text message sent to your phone.
Smart2Go is the product of Nokia's acquisition of German route-planning software company Gate5, last August.
Paid-for mapping services must be choking at this announcement. Not only is Nokia giving the bulk of the software away free, but the company is also pre-installing the software on a plethora of Nokia devices and allowing it to be usable on the majority of popular platforms in the market.
It seems the navigation world may change substantially after this product has launched - expect more navigation and mapping services released free of charge, with companies making money from optional upgrades, the sale of 'points-of-interest' (we noted that Nokia mentioned McDonald's as an example in the press release) and other marketing-on-mapping methods. µ