back to article Nokia switches direction and gives away maps

Nokia has started giving away Ovi Maps including turn-by-turn directions, removing one more source of income in the ongoing battle to out-freebie Google. Ovi Maps runs on Nokia's Symbian-based handsets, and synchronises with the online version for when you want to use a bigger screen. Until this morning, lost punters could …


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  1. Russell Howe

    Limited device support, though

    Compatible devices: Nokia X6, Nokia N97 mini, E72, E55, E52, Nokia 6730 classic, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic, Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition, Nokia 5230.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      More then that is supported

      Go to this site and will see lot more phones are supported then that list

      1. Brutus

        RE: There is more

        Actually, it looks like there isn't more. Yet.

        you can download maps 3.0 for the N97 (for example), but if you select N97 mini, you get the option of being sent a link to download the new free routing maps app.

    2. Milkfloat

      There is more

      Actually a lot more phones are supported, you just have to go a different way to find the downloads.

    3. Cosmo

      @ Russell Howe

      The full press release appears to indicate that more devices will be added in the following weeks. I hope so, as I've got an N85

  2. Doug Deeds

    Money loser?

    Didn't they pay billions for the company with map technology? Might be a decade before they can break even on this.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Not really...

      You miss the point.

      Its not a money loser, but that they've lost a potential source for revenue.

      IMHO, You can bet when Google faces the anti-trust music, this will come back to haunt Google.

  3. Lutin


    This is the first sensible strategic move i've seen from Nokia in a long time.

  4. jodyfanning
    Dead Vulture

    No charge for maps

    Nokia has never charged for maps or search results. Only the navigation and extra services was not free.

  5. Jon 49

    Nokia still have a bit of business sense

    It looks like this offer is only for those using their latest phones. People still using the N95 8GB generation don't seem to qualify.

    1. Steve X


      Click on the 'more info' link, it takes you to a download page where the N95 is listed.

      1. Jon 49

        Available for N95 etc, but is it free?

        To those saying that older phones are supported, it's true that you can click the "more info" link to be taken to a download page for that generation. HOWEVER, that download page makes no mention of free navigation. To see my point, go to that page and switch between a new and an old model. The new models specifically say "with free navigation", the older models do not.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    never mind the loss per unit, we'll make it up in volume

    "there's little point in doubling one's market if one reduces the revenue generated by that market to zero"

    You lot at El Reg still just don't get Web2.0 do you.










    1. Anonymous Coward

      Bloody hell

      I just paid for mine a few weeks ago!

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Just got a 5800 on Saturday - this comparatively cheap phone keeps getting better!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    N97 still on Maps 3.0

    So, if it's OK on the N97 mini, why the hell is it not available on the N97 proper. :-(

    1. Paul Hates Handles



      ...definitely needs a firmware update/rewrite. For their so-called flagship phone (dropped by Orange for being "a bit shit") it sucks mighty balls.

  9. David Hicks

    The N900 just got even more appealing...

    I need a multi-country sat-nav. Hmmmm....

  10. Lan ser
    Thumb Down

    not really free

    you have to pay the Microsoft Tax and use Windows to install it

    1. Chris O'Shea
      Thumb Up

      Windows tax? Not necessarily ...

      Depends on whether you've got a recent enough Nokia phone it appears ... certainly on the N97mini page they say you can download maps directly to your phone without using a Windows computer.

      Why N97mini and not N97, dunno ... but wasn't there a new version of the OS which came standard on the N97mini and you had to upgrade on the N97? Maybe the Maps with spoken navigation requires features from that new version of the OS?

      Anyway, I'm happy as I just got a new E72 and that's one of the phones supported straight away (rather than having to wait a few weeks like some others!)

    2. Merchman

      Re: not really free

      you can download it and install directly on the phone - just go to from your phone browser, or you can send the phone a link to download it directly

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Re: N97 still on Maps 3.0 #

    Hi Anom (& others),

    More support for other devices (including the N97) definitely coming soon - just bare with them!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Re: not really free

    Hi Lan ser,

    You can install it direct to your device - computer not needed (unless you want to do a couple of extra bits and bobs) ::

  13. Richard 22
    Thumb Up

    It's about the hardware

    Surely Nokia's banking on people being more likely to buy Nokia S60 handsets if they will be able to get free navigation software. So although they lose in SW revenue, they may gain in HW sales since it makes the S60 phones a better package

  14. Connor Garvey


    Nokia can make money by giving their map app away the same way Google makes money.

    They certainly can't compete with Google with their previous $100 per year price tag.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So.. Nokia has free satnav

    Google has free satnav

    ... who's missing? :P

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Tom tom only has itself to blame

    We don't object to paying for the map that's bundled with the device when we first buy it, or for buying extra maps that cover areas we didn't pay for with the original purchase.

    But charging full price for an annual update that doesn't update more than a tiny percentage of the roads really isn't on, as is refusing to implement new services on old maps even though the old maps cover the intended route perfectly well.

    Its high time that the law required FREE annual updates, or at least limited their cost to a sensible 5% per annum of the original price.

    Better still, the law should require compulsory adoption of open source maps and require the local authorities to keep them up to date.

    1. Chris O'Shea

      TomTom and upgrades

      Not sure about on the phones, but my TomTom Go 700 gets map updates for the equivalent of about £2.50/month, for the UK and Europe.

      And when I had trouble installing the new maps on such an old device, they went out of their way to send me an updated base version of the software and maps so the subscription service would work.

      TomTom have (in my limited experience) good customer service, and the OS upgrades (including new functionality) on my Go 700 have been free.

      @AC said "Its high time that the law required FREE annual updates, or at least limited their cost to a sensible 5% per annum of the original price." because of course it doesn't cost anyone anything to get the new map updates ... bah. At 30-odd pounds a year the subscription costs about 8% of the original purchase price, and is worth every penny :-)

      1. markp 1

        Let me rebuff here.

        If you buy the maps seperately for some other device - an iPhone or Nokia S60, say - you'll be paying something in the £40-70 ballpark. £30 is an AWFUL big slice of what was already a borderline purchase decision (for me, answer was "no") given how cheaply some dedicated satnavs can be bought.

        And if you've gone out in the sales and stretched a meagre budget to get a Tom Tom Start for £100, when previously you were relying on a 5+ year out of date, £20 Phillips Navigator and a not entirely reliable £5 compass and getting regularly lost (I'm STILL in the latter state), then an update that costs 30% of the device's initial purchase cost and doesn't do a great deal of anything no longer seems all that reasonable. Speed camera updates are less than that and both more useful and probably involve a bit more work and research.

        (Whilst we're at it the traffic / etc subscription costs can start to take the piss with some providers, and when you start adding everything together - map updates, cameras, traffic - it can be quite a costly affair)

        Paying .... what.... £30 / 0.08... £375 ?!?! for a satnav, in this day and age? I can barely dream of that kind of payout - I was idly wondering the other day on the comparitive benefit of a £300-ish bike-oriented one for my "money saving" 125cc, vs just getting a cheapie and putting it in a waterproof case. Not entirely sure which is a better idea... but phone maps are very hard to use with biker gloves on, even a car nav would be an improvement.

        I do hope you got your moneys worth and it gave you a honking great raft of extra features that really do provide you with much additional value, otherwise you've been bloody well HAD, mate. There's scads of the things that can be bought for a third of the price (or in other words, the updates are 1/4 the purchase price).

        I wouldn't be so harsh as to say 5%; I mean, the guys've gotta live, and as stated there's a great price variability. But maybe peg it at £10 or so per year. That should attract a great number of subscriptions and therefore still maybe make enough money to actually pay for the work to be done and even turn a profit, without being a complete giveaway. Depending what, where and when you buy, that'd be anything from 2% upto 12% of the device cost. No longer a pisstake and you can maybe afford to indulge in a camera or traffic subscription, or even - if you're budgeting longterm - go up a level of spec in the device itself. Maybe get advance lane warnings, for example.

  17. jon 44


    I've used ovi maps before and the free trial last summer was nice. I've just investigated this offer and apparently you need firmware v40 which is never likely to happen for those of us who bought contract phones :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      5800 Firmware

      At least if you're referring to the 5800, you only need v31 FW which is available almost everywhere (except on 3, I believe). My vodafone branded red 5800 has it, and my mate's silver t-mobile one came with it a few weeks ago.

      1. David Wood

        RE: 5800 Firmware

        You can always "Debrand" your phone (using a free app) so that you can download the latest version of the firmware from Nokia. In my experience this works perfectly - although it probably invalidates your warranty and 3 will probably get annoyed if you start using 2G networks in preference to their 3G network.

  18. markp 1


    I'll be downloading this as soon as I get out into a decent signal area, then. I felt quite cheated at upgrading to an N79 pretty much because it had GPS and "included Nokia maps with turn by turn navigation". Seemed a good deal to get something that had vague Tom Tom-ish ability AND was a complete (if low end) Symbian-platform smartphone for about the same price as a cheap "normal" satnav. Of course the so-small-only-bacteria-can-see-it (when they squint) print was that you got a month of very very basic navigation for free (and even that hasn't actually worked for me since I signed up), and then continued service or any of the actually-useful levels (e.g. "Driving directions") was extra cost, starting from about a fiver a month. Or sixty quid a year. I could get an actual nearly-new Tom Tom for that on eBay.

    At least you still got the maps thrown in, but they do hog the memory card and with a Web 'n' Walk plan they're only useful in the very rare situations where the GPS actually freakin' works, but there's not enough phone signal to stream the images into Google Maps. Neither of them offer decent navigation as-is; it's more a case of having a very small and portable map in your pocket, rather than an A-Z or lugging the aforementioned Navigator about. Still have to keep stopping and checking the location, seeing if the GPS actually agrees with you (if not, trust your eyes instead of the phone), and scrolling to and then along the purple line to work out which way to turn next.

    Getting the voice nav to work gratis, even if it's only the cheapie "walking" one, may convince me to look at how much their cheaper service upgrades are, if only for a month or two to show some gratitude and keep the service afloat. Phone + bluetooth earbud + voice nav would be EXCEPTIONALLY useful when out on the moto, and still fairly handy in the car where peering at a tiny screen whilst in motion is not really recommended, and I'd prefer it to be taken up with the fullscreen, large font Speed, Distance/ETA & Compass displays for enhanced camera-dodging and "where the bloody hell am I going NOW?" information.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Part of the sales pitch is to the networks.

    Part of the Nokia sales pitch here is aimed at the networks rather than the consumer. Ovi maps apparently uses significantly less network bandwidth than Google maps for the same navigation task, something like an order of magnitude less. For the networks offering call plans with free data that’s a big deal. Get your subscribers using Ovi instead of Google and you effectively save hundreds of thousands of Pounds/Euros/Dollars a month. This in turn equals more generous subsidies to Nokia Phones and some additional promotion of them by the networks. I suspect the calculation is they will make more money on this than they currently do selling the current value added services. I'm also guessing that in the future they can charge for things like restaurant listing etc so when you search for a local restaurant those paying appear more prominently.

    Personally I prefer a dedicated Navigation device in the car, my phone’s screen is too small for the job, but if Nokia made a dedicated satnav with this offer i'd buy it when it comes time to replace my TomTom.

  20. Harry
    Thumb Up

    "if Nokia made a dedicated satnav"

    Yes, precisely.

    A dedicated satnav with a guaranteed Free Map Upgrades For Life would be a sure winner.

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