Nokia Starts Mobile Location Service

Nokia Starts Mobile Location Service Compatible with PDAs and smart phones, the new system offers maps, routing for 150 countries, and turn-by-turn satellite navigation

Nokia has launched a mapping, navigation and location-based services (LBS) system for use on its smart phones and PDAs, as well as devices made by other companies.

The smart2go system provides maps and routing covering more than 150 countries as well as turn-by-turn satellite navigation for more than 30 nations.

Users download mapping tiles, along with relevant content, onto their device which is then stored on its memory card. This removes the need to be connected to a mobile network, meaning users don't have to rely on connectivity and can operate even if they don't have a signal.

Ralph Eric Kunz, vice president of multimedia at Nokia, explained the reason for storing the maps in this way is users most often need them when they are lost, and often that means they are in a remote location where they are unable to get connectivity.

smart2go also offers various location-based services that allow users to pinpoint their location and find out which of more than 15 million points of interest are nearby.

For navigation services in Western Europe users will be charged a subscription fee varying from €8.99 per week to €99.99 for three years.

The smart2go service will initially work on Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile 5.0 platforms but will be rolled out to other platforms too, including Linux.

Kunz said: "This is about aggregating as many consumers as we can on a very broad platform."

The Finnish company also plans to embed the system in all future N-series devices, on which it will go by the name Nokia Maps.

Research by Nokia has suggested 51 per cent of users want to use maps on their mobile devices, while 31 per cent are interested in using search functions.

smart2go will be available from 10 February.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.