2/3/2010 11:21:00 AM
Nokia targets location based services with Ovi Maps update
Nokia's move to update its navigation services is the first
sign that its vision for location based services is becoming a
reality, UK MD Mark Loughran told Mobile.
Loughran was speaking on the day the manufacturer updated its Ovi
Maps service (21 January), making it free and expanding its
The latest 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; traffic information
for more than 10 countries; as well as detailed maps for more
than 180 countries.
Loughran was adamant that the revamp of its location-based
services is not a case of the manufacturer playing catch up with
competitors such as Google, which already has a well-established
free mapping service.
He said: 'A couple of years ago, we said that location based
services was where we were going to be. We bought Navteq and have
turned it into the service we have today. I think our strategy
has been clear.
'It sets the bar at a very different level. Our strategy is about
people, places and contextually aware services. This is the next
Contrary to speculation, Loughran said there are no plans to open
up Ovi to other manufacturers. 'There were loads of rumours, but
99% were incorrect,' he said.
He added: 'Expanding location based services further is a
question we have been asked. It's about integrating services,
such as Lonely Planet.'
In addition to the Ovi updates, the manufacturer is aiming to
make things easier for developers.
'They can download and use APIs, so it [Ovi] is not constrained
by what Nokia is doing - it's also open to Symbian devices so
developers have got on that,' Loughran said. He added: 'I think
what we have today is a large scale, relevant platform. We are
making sure development APIs and kits are available and as a
result they [developers] will gravitate towards it.'
Nokia has updated Ovi Maps to offer a 'premium' service, which
integrates social networking sites and can be used for free.
'There is also the ability to post your whereabouts on Facebook
with a single touch,' Loughran added.
According to Loughran, there will be two phases of marketing.
'Firstly, we kept this quiet before we launched it. We have
planned PR but we also have posters and print [two full page ads
in the nationals on 22 January].'
He added: 'We have also been talking to operators about how we
are going to advertise this - I expect a lot of digital. You have
two jobs. One is awareness, and the second is getting them
[consumers] to use it.'
Manufacturers and operators have historically clashed over
services such as music and Skype. Last year, Nokia famously
conflicted with networks over its decision to include Skype on
some handsets. The argument centres around ownership of the
However, Loughran is doubtful of an operator clash in this
instance. He said: 'In this world of mobiles and different
players, we have to understand that different services are right
for different consumers.
'Operators will benefit from music and other services that are
available on our devices - and competitor devices - as people
will get involved in data tariffs.'