Finnish Cell Phone maker extraordinaire Nokia today announced that they're ponying up somewhere just north of $8 billion to acquire NAVTEQ, furthering Nokia's evolution from hardware maker to full-on experience provider. They've got mobile blogging, a new music store, and a bunch of other mobile experience services up and running over the past year or so ... now Nokia is positioning themselves to provide some serious location-based offerings in their next round of N-Series devices.
Nokia's press release states a Q1 2008 target date for the business dealings around the acquisition to finish up. So we can hopefully expect some interesting - or at least powerful - integrated navigation offerings in new Nokias by this time next year (if not sooner).
Can you feel the ground shifting under your cell phone's feet? Are we inching every so slightly away from the current US model of network operators dictating services and towards the Apple/Nokia (and maybe Google?) model of "handset" manufacturers providing an end-to-end user experience that the carrier doesn't have much of a say in? Will Nokia's push to sell unlocked handsets in outlets like Best Buy result in a more network-agnostic cellular marketplace, one wherein the AT&T's and Verizon's of the world have to focus on network coverage, reliability, and quality because the HTCs and Nokias are taking care of all the handsets and services? Gosh, sounds kind of nice, doesn't it?