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Nokia Brings Free turn-by-turn GPS to Ovi Maps

Gordon Kelly


Nokia Brings Free turn-by-turn GPS to Ovi Maps

First it was Android adding free turn-by-turn GPS, and now Nokia has jumped on the bandwagon...

Starting today an overhaul of Ovi Maps will see Nokia open up the application bringing voice guidance for 74 countries globally across 46 languages, plus traffic information for a further 10 countries and detailed maps for over 180 countries. Throw in over 6000 3D landmarks from more than 200 cities and this certainly gives it a major step-up over the currently US-only implementation in Android.

Two further key points. Firstly, Nokia will allow maps to be loaded directly into a device which means no expensive data roaming costs if travelling abroad. Secondly, Nokia is opening up the API for Ovi Maps as it looks to tempt developers into jumping aboard the new service. Whether they choose to charge for the apps they produce, use in-app advertising or make it free will be up to them.

Speaking at the Nokia's live press launch in London today Nokia Executive VP Anssi Vanjoki admitted that he believed the loss of charges from abandoning the previously premium service would be more than made up by the third party developer opportunities it would bring in. "Something you have to give a little to make a lot," he concluded.

Available immediately, the new Ovi Maps will work with 10 handsets from straight away including the N97, 5800 XpressMusic and E72. The N900 remains conspicuously absent at this time, though from March all new Nokia GPS-enabled smartphones will be compatible.

So another nail in the coffin of TomTom, but in following in Google's footsteps has Nokia now forced the hand of other mobile operating systems? Let's hope so...


Nokia Ovi Maps


January 21, 2010, 3:33 pm

Roll on this being available for the N900. I might just have to update my N95 8GB as a cheap secondary satnav.


January 21, 2010, 3:55 pm

Wow, this is massive news! Thanks Nokia :)

Ovi maps are good and this is a very smart and shrewd move. TomTom and Garmin better start looking for that next killer product quickly, I'm surprised they haven't licensed their software to car manufacturers yet, got to be a big market there.


January 21, 2010, 4:41 pm

What about handsets other than the 10 listed? This is a very nice move, but as usual Nokia looks like it might only be supporting a subset of its handsets. Also the web-based download system remains hopelessly confusing and over-complicated.

An intelligent step from Nokia, but they need to get the basics right.


January 21, 2010, 4:52 pm

Get the basics right: make them sound louder while navigating in the car...


January 21, 2010, 5:03 pm

@Kaplan: I quote from the article "though from March all new Nokia GPS-enabled smartphones will be compatible." Last paragraph.

Sir Stuie

January 21, 2010, 6:12 pm

Might pick one of these up, satnav is always a useful thing to have on the go.


January 21, 2010, 7:47 pm

@drdark: the word "new" in that sentence is what bothers me - not sure whether it's a typo in this article (Gordon?), or whether Nokia are not intending to offer support on all their existing GPS phones.


January 21, 2010, 8:00 pm

@Kaplan - Nokia isn't planning to offer support on all existing phones, just a fraction of them. Mostly the high end N series smartphones - so no, it isn't a typo


January 21, 2010, 8:15 pm

@Gordon: thanks for clarifying - it's what I suspected, having seen several times before how Nokia's new software doesn't run on their older phones. I hope they offer this on the E71, which I own (biggest-selling keyboard phone ever, so I understand, so a worthwhile user base). There can be no technical reason why not - older handsets could be offered free access through the existing software and licensing system, but just be granted free licenses. It will look like a ploy to encourage people to buy new handsets if they don't offer this on older ones.

Hans Gruber

January 21, 2010, 8:55 pm

Will current subscriber's to Ovi's turn by turn voice direction service get a refund? No, I thought not. :-<


January 21, 2010, 9:15 pm

Good move by Nokia.

The huge advantage of Ovi maps over google it doesn't require a data connection. You can download maps for the whole world if you want and have turn by turn navigation, traffic info etc.

Nokia will be supporting more handsets in the coming months and is confirmed to support the n97 very soon. As to what handsets will be supported no body knows (there are no expertise in guessing). All new handsets after March 2010 will have free turn by turn.


January 22, 2010, 12:27 am

so hope this comes to the N95 if not I hope they simply 'flick the switch' and enable it through a license update it would be a crying shame if they don't


January 22, 2010, 12:47 am

ps. how much you betting that every smelly network try to disable this


January 22, 2010, 2:53 am

Without trying to advertise, for those interested Engadget has running updates:


Currently: " N97 Mini, 5800 XpressMusic, 5800 navigation edition, E52, E55, E72, 5230, 6710 navigator, 6730 classic and X6"

"A support note from Nokia was just issued saying that the new Ovi Maps will be released for the N97 on January 28th"

"N900 owners shouldn't hold their breath, though, as Nokia is focusing on bringing its free navigation service to the next generation of Maemo devices. That's not to say that the N900 won't get it eventually, only that it's not currently on the roadmap."


January 22, 2010, 5:51 am

Thats good news! But...

I have 5800XM with the newest firmware (40.0.005) and I have just installed latest Ovi Maps update. The app starts but when I click its icons the screen goes pink and the phone switches off... :( Garmin sat-nav app works fine. Anyone has an idea what is going on?

Graham C

January 22, 2010, 5:17 pm

@kaplan: I can confirm that after a couple of hours of messing around last night I now have a fully working E71 based sat nav.

The instructions on the website are not the clearest I have seen and I initially missed the fact that I needed to download the PC Suite and get it running before the OviMaps 3.0. Then the latter crashed out when trying to load the new maps and I was left with an error message about not being able to find a licence.

Updated the licence on the phone and still couldn't get anywhere so tried just using the Map Loader suite to do it direct and lo and behold it worked. Looking on the forums it seems there are some bugs in PC Suite.

For no cost this a great utility especially given the full coverage across Europe, etc.

Very impressed.


January 22, 2010, 9:22 pm

@Graham_C: thanks for the info. So you didn't need to do anything special - just install Maps via the Map Loader?

Are you sure this gives you free usage (i.e. you don't get the payment prompt screen coming up 30 seconds after you activate Drive directions?)

Graham C

January 23, 2010, 1:27 am

@Kaplan: you need to install PC Suite, then upgrade to Ovi Maps 3.0 (from 2.0 on the E71 I think) and then use the map loader (if Ovi maps fails for you too).

I'm guessing the key is the upgrade to 3.0 in terms of moving to the new free service.

Certainly I have had no messages and the Nokia website seems pretty clear that this element is free. The charging comes with the use of traffic alerts, camera information, etc from what I can see.

I've used it twice today and it seems pretty good.


January 23, 2010, 8:22 pm

This is revolutionary! Free is hardly a term thrown around, especially when tomtom for iphone costs a fraction of the device!


January 25, 2010, 5:02 pm

Well done Nokia - a very smart move. Manufacturers like TomTom and Garmin are going to have think long and hard about what added value their products offer. This will certainly make me think long and hard about renewing my TomTom subscription.


February 1, 2010, 9:08 pm

We have tried to update my wife's Nokia 5800 music phone & whatever we did it would not upgrade.

So we contacted Nokia, they passed us on to Orange, & it seems Orange have not approved the required upgrade.

Therefore until Orange say so, we can't get the free maps.

GREAT. Just shows how much influence the operator holds over the phone & what you can & can't do!

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