Nokia Ratchets up GPS with 6210, Maps 2.0

As other companies were tackling the iPhone with new touch-screen phones at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona on Monday, Nokia was reaffirming its dedication to high-end GPS with the Nokia 6210 Navigator and Maps 2.0, a new software package to accompany it. Together, they offer expanded navigation options for pedestrians, multimedia guides for cities, and even a digital compass to keep users on track.

The 6210 is a GPS-enabled phone packaged into a slider body, much like the older 6110 Navigator. Unlike previous incarnations and other GPS phones, the 6210 uses an integrated accelerometer to measure changes in direction and orientation, allowing the map to literally stand still as the phone turns. This functionality, along with a digital compass, was designed to assist pedestrians in navigating with GPS. High-speed 3.5G connectivity also allows the 6210 to pull information on interest points off the Web, like phone numbers and addresses.

Nokia announced a beta version of Maps 2.0 alongside the 6210, which will come with the new service preinstalled. Improvements include efficient A to B route planning for pedestrians that is sophisticated enough to take park paths and provide information on nearby buildings, as well as multimedia guides for cities. The guides will offer photos, videos and audio to accompany users through major cities. Pedestrians in 17 select cities will also be able to click an icon that will route them to the nearest Metro station, and drivers in 18 European countries will be able to purchase real-time traffic feeds, with Maps 2.0 intelligently rerouting trips to avoid traffic snarls.

Maps 2.0 can be downloaded immediately through Nokia’s Beta labs. The 6210 Navigator will launch in the third quarter of 2008, only in “select markets,” for a price of 300 euros ($435 USD).

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