It was only a matter of time before other phone companies would have to take the plunge and offer free turn-by-turn navigation. Ever since Google released their Maps Navigation Beta for Android, people all around the world wondered two things. First, would it be available outside of the US? And second, when would other phone companies jump on the free turn-by-turn bandwagon? It's important to note that some carriers, such as Sprint, already offer free turn-by-turn, but the quality and usability are subpar at best.
According to MobileCrunch, Nokia has decided to answer the world's questions. Nokia will offer free turn-by-turn navigation on 20 million handsets, in 74 countries, and in 26 different languages. The features of the Ovi Maps with Navigation, as it's being called, are:
- Maps are stored locally, and no continuous data connection is needed
- Traffic Information in 10 countries
- Lane assistance, speed trap warnings
- Pedestrian mode, including shortcuts only possible on foot
- Free Lonely Planet/Michelin travel guides
The question now remains; will Google open up their navigation service to the rest of the world? We know their Navigation program has the capabilities, because when it was first released, it was hacked to work in other countries, though Google, quickly, put a stop to it.
The great thing about Ovi Maps is that, unlike Google Maps Navigation, it doesn't need a data connection to pull maps, as it stores them all on the device itself. It's ability to warn you of speed limits is also a nice touch, not to mention the walking directions that can give you shortcuts. Engadget reports that the Nokia N97 will be supported by Ovi Maps Navigation on January 28th. Currently, there is no word on whether the N900 will get the new turn-by-turn system, as Nokia seems to be focusing on the next generation of Maemo devices.
You can check your Nokia device's compatibility and download the new navigation service here.
Below are some videos showing Ovi Maps Navigation in action, courtesty of Engadget...