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Nokia Ovi Maps

Over the last few months, we've spotted a trend in personal navigation. It's returning to its roots, only stronger. The standalone sat-nav made the technology dependable enough for the consumer mainstream, something personal navigational devices (PDAs) never were. But smartphones are now becoming ubiquitous and reliable, and with so much computing power - plus a built-in GPS receiver - already in your pocket, it makes sense that interest is returning to the software add-on. Now this feature has become a selling point for the phones themselves, with Garmin even releasing a hybrid sat-nav phone, the M10. But a wide range of Nokia phones already offer a capable alternative in the shape of Ovi Maps. Is this a reason to eschew the temptations of Apple's iPhone or Google's Android?

Obtaining Ovi Maps depends on which Nokia phone you own. A few brand-new models come supplied with it pre-installed, plus a free in-car screen mount, and even a power adapter in some cases. The N97, N97 mini, X6, and 6710 Navigator may all include the full package, for example. The 5800 XpressMusic and Navigation Edition, 5230, E52 and E72 just have the screen mount. But lots of other models (or versions of the above handsets purchased before Ovi Maps was bundled) support it too. Some require a PC to download and set the software up, and if your phone has a firmware version prior to the 20 series you will need to upgrade via a desktop system anyway.

If your phone has software that is 20 series or greater, however, you can install Ovi Maps over the air via the Software Update under Applications. You may not even need to do this as phones with software 21.1 series firmware may already have the latest version installed. However, it's worth checking, as the 3.04 version available at the time of writing added some important new features, including Wi-Fi positioning, a faster UI, and the addition of Qype information into the Points of Interest (POI) database. So you get user reviews as well as the general location of key POIs. Version 3.04 was not included with the latest phone firmware at the time of writing, only 3.03.

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