Following in Google’s steps, Nokia has announced that a new version of Ovi Maps for its smartphones that includes walk and drive navigation is now completely Free! Forever. Supported devices include the Nokia N97 mini, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition, Nokia E52, Nokia E55, Nokia E72, Nokia 5230, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 6730 classic and Nokia X6.
Strangely missing is the N97 and the N900. But we’ve been assured that “that compatibility for the N97 will be coming very soon!” The part that has not been confirmed, but what’s likely causing the delay is that a new firmware for the N97 is coming next week and that Nokia is waiting for the firmware to release the Maps update. So when they soon, this probably means next week!
What about the N900? Apparently the N900 could get it eventually, but that’s not a priority right now. According to Engadget in call with Michael Halbherr, Nokia’s VP of Social Location, they were told that: “N900 owners shouldn’t hold their breath, though, as Nokia is focusing on bringing its free navigation service to the next generation of Maemo devices. That’s not to say that the N900 won’t get it eventually, only that it’s not currently on the roadmap.”
The N900 just recently became available, yet they are focusing on “next generation of Maemo devices.” But why does a device such as the E72 get the support? This is simply unacceptable from our stand point. (Update: The N900 will get this update, eventually)
There’s no denying that that this announcement is simply awesome, making the entire suite of OVI services a strong argument in favor of Nokia devices, but I also have to wonder how much of this was influenced by the fact that Google made walk and drive navigation free on it’s Android devices. This is also begs the question how this will affect the sales of dedicated GPS devices, manufacturers like TomTom and other navigation apps on the market. It’s very convenient though to be able to just simply pick up your device and use it as a GPS unit, without ever worrying about fees or buying individual city maps.