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Nokia to Offer Free Mobile Mapping Service

The world’s largest maker of mobile phones, Nokia, has announced it is making its smart2go mapping service free to mobile users beginning February 10. Users of selected Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile 5 devices will be able to download the smart2go application and start planning their trips right away; the company plans to roll out support for other mobile OS platforms over time, including the Nokia S60 and Series 40 devices, along with PocketPC, Linux, and other Windows Mobile-based devices—soon, the service will be pre-installed on Nokia’s N-series mobile devices under the name “Nokia Maps.”

“People will trust and use maps if they have those maps with them when they need them, and smart2go allows consumers the full freedom of which maps they want to carry with them. By offering Nokia Maps and smart2go for free on your mobile device, cost is no longer a barrier for anyone to enjoy the convenience of maps and routing on-the-go,” said Ralph Eric Kunz, Nokia’s VP for Multimedia, in a release. “Nokia is on track to build the world’s most connected location based platform for mobile devices which also opens up interesting opportunities for future services.”

Nokia’s smart2go uses map data from both Tele-Atlas and Navteq, downloaded to mobile devices directly via GPRS, 3G, or WLAN wireless networks. Map data is stored in device memory until it’s needed—and if users already have the map data they need on their device, no wireless connection is needed for mapping, routing functions, and navigation. An additional PC-based tool enables users to download larger clumps of map data and manage side-loading those onto their devices.

The smart2go system offers mapping and routing information for more than 150 countries, and offers support for turn-by-turn satellite navigation in more than 30 countries. Users can view their own location on the maps, search through more than 15 million points of interest, and create routes between points. The smart2go mapping application will be free, but users can choose to upgrade to “true” turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation by purchasing a navigation license right on their device; licenses available range from one week to three years.

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