Nokia today announced the immediate availability of the new version of Ovi Maps, their free mapping and navigation software. Ovi Maps is available now for 10 Nokia devices, including the N97 mini, E72 and 5800, and will come pre-installed on all GPS-equipped Nokia smartphones beginning this March. Left in the cold, dark wilderness to find their way without Ovi Maps (for now) are the N97 and N900 devices, the latter of which is the company's first device to run the new Maemo OS platform.
I had a phone briefing with some Nokia brass yesterday and they're super excited about Ovi Maps, calling it a "game changer" and a "watershed moment" that we'll look back upon in days to come. Readers in the US might not be nodding their heads up and down in agreement just yet, due to the lack of carrier-subsidized Nokia smartphones in our country, but given Nokia's install base globally and the key points of the announcement, I'd be hard pressed to argue the importance of Ovi Maps to Nokia's future.
To wit, several of Ovi Maps' key features out-Google Google when it comes to offering free and open LBS services on a mobile device:
All sounds good to me. So I'm downloading Ovi Maps to my E72 right now, over WiFi, without a SIM card installed. And I'll take the device with me today when I head out to the Oakland Airport to drop a friend off and then over the bridge into San Francisco for a meeting. And I'll let you know how Ovi Maps does in guiding us all around the rainy Bay Area.
In the meantime, um, sorry Tom-Tom. And Tom-Tom stock holders. It's been a rough couple of months for you guys, huh?
Learn more about - or download - Ovi Maps at nokia.com/maps