The personal navigation device market just got a bit more competitive.
Following in Google's footsteps of offering free navigation to users of
announced its own plans to begin offering free map updates and navigation
services to smartphone users. As Jukka Hosio, director of Nokia's services
marketing, told a press conference in Helsinki, "We are offering global
car and pedestrian navigation in 74 countries, in 46 languages ... Ovi Maps
becomes completely free from this moment onwards."
With the announcement, Nokia increases pressure on PND
manufacturers such as
Garmin and TomTom, who are likely to suffer as smartphone sales with built-in
navigation capabilities continue to increase. In September, consultancy firm
iSupply said it expected the GPS
market to decrease for the first time in 2009 after enjoying years of booming
growth. iSupply further predicted that GPS sales will continue to fall in the
long term after a short rebound. By 2014, it is expected that the number of
smartphones with navigational programs will exceed the number of GPS devices.
Today, there are twice as many GPS devices compared to smartphones.
Nokia's PND features will become globally available in March
on 10 phones, four of which are currently available as unlocked models in the
U.S. These include the 5800 Navigation Edition, N97 Mini, 5800 Xpress Music,
and E72. Additional models are set to follow. For customers who currently own
one of the compatible phones, you can download the application from www.nokia.com/maps
. The PND phones aren't
available through AT&T, and the downloads will not be available to phones
that are locked to AT&T.