Nokia has today unveiled a significantly updated version of its Ovi Maps application, which now provides users with free access to turn-by-turn navigation and traffic information, as well as travel guides from WCities, Lonely Planet and Michelin.
The new version of Ovi Maps will initially be available on 10 existing Nokia models: the 5800 XpressMusic, 5800 Navigation Edition, E52, E55, E72, 5230, 6710 Navigator, 6730 Classic and X6, as well as the Nokia N97 Mini that's yet to be released in Australia.
If you happen to own one of those Nokias, go to www.nokia.com/maps to download the just minted version of Ovi Maps. We'll have a review of new Ovi Maps up early next week.
According to Nandita Pal, head of service sales in Asia, over time more existing models will be made compatible with the new, freer Ovi Maps. GPS-equipped Nokia mobiles launched from March 2010 onwards will have this Ovi Maps app installed and relevant maps preloaded. Overseas travellers can obtain maps to over 70 countries in Europe, America, Africa and Asia for free — either side loaded via a computer or over the air straight on to the mobile.
Depending on the mobile phone, previous versions of Ovi Maps required users to pay fees to use turn-by-turn navigation, traffic or travel guide info. Pal says that Nokia decided to make Ovi Maps' features free to "ensure mass adoption and remove any barriers to uptake".
Almost as important as those four little letters — f-r-e-e — the new Ovi Maps sports an overhauled interface that can be seen below.
As we've mentioned already, turn-by-turn navigation is now free.
Turn-by-turn navigation is also available for pedestrians (right).
The interface has been redesigned with a more modern look and feel. Nandita Pal claims that it is "literally the simplest thing to use".
Included as part of the package are city guides from Lonely Planet, entertainment information from WCities, and hotel and restaurant ratings from Michelin.
Weather reading and forecasts are part of Ovi Maps.