Nokia has released a free new version of Ovi Maps in a bid to tap into the satellite navigation and location based application market.
The new version, which will be available on all its smartphones, is available to download for free. Nokia claims the move has the potential to double the current mobile navigation market.
Research carried out by Canalys, for Nokia, indicated the number of people using GPS navigation on their phones internationally was around 27 million at the end of 2009. Nokia said this could rise to 50 million as a result of the free service.
Nokia vice-president, Anssi Vanjoki, said: ‘Why have multiple devices that work that work in only one country or region? Put it all together, make it free, make it global and you almost double the potential size of the mobile navigation market.
‘Nokia is the only company with a mobile navigation service for both drivers and pedestrians that works across the world. Unlike the legacy car navigation manufacturers, we don't make you buy maps for different countries or regions even if you're only visiting for a few days.
'We offer both navigation and maps free of charge, with all the high-end functionality and features that people now expect.’
The new version of Ovi Maps includes high-end car and pedestrian navigation features, such as turn-by-turn voice guidance for 74 countries, in 46 languages, and traffic information for more than 10 countries, as well as detailed maps for more than 180 countries.
'The N95 was a major milestone in the industry - navigation assisted by voice,' Vanjoki said at a press event this morning (21 January).
The service will initially be available on devices including the N97 mini and 5800 and will be widened out to include handsets such as the N900.
Nokia's move will take on Google, which also has free mapping services, as well as sat nav company TomTom - and Apple's 3GS iPhone, which has navigation fucntionality and the ability to work as car sat nav through TomTom.