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Nokia Ovi Maps has been set free -- free as in beer, free as a bird. Not only that, it's now better than the current paid-for version, with free Lonely Planet and Michelin guides.

We got our hands on Ovi Maps, which is available today on ten handsets -- so if you've got a recent E-series or touchscreen Nokia, you can go to Nokia's Web site and download it right now. The exception is the Nokia N97 -- only its littler twin, the Nokia N97 mini, is supported, but Nokia tells us N97 users should get theirs next week.

In the meantime, click 'Continue' to check out the mapping features that Nokia's handing out like free sweets.

Most features in Ovi Maps work whether you have a data connection or not, because maps are downloaded and stored on the phone, rather than on the fly like in Google Maps. Nokia says its new phones will come pre-loaded with all the European maps, so you don't have to download anything to get started.
Nokia pulls in event listings from various sources to give you a list of events near your location. Boy George is playing in Central London tonight, apparently.
Bookmark your favourite locations to return to them quickly. Because maps are stored on the phone, and the vector graphics are quick to render, we found bookmarked locations popped up almost instantly. Nokia emphasised its walking directions, telling us it had teams manually map the ped paths in 100 cities worldwide, including London.
If you want to facilitate stalkers, Ovi Maps has a Facebook feature that allows you to update your status with a link to your position, some text, a photo and a video. Nokia tells us there will also be a Facebook app that can bring together your friends' Ovi Maps locations on your Facebook page.
The Michelin Guide is also included for free, pointing you to posh nosh close to your location.


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