(URL: http://tinyurl.com/ycbpmga)

By Andrew R Hickey, ChannelWeb

4:33 PM EST Thu. Jan. 21, 2010

Nokia on Thursday unveiled the latest version of its Ovi Maps application, which introduces free turn-by-turn voice navigation and directions for driving and walking to Nokia smartphones.

Many see Nokia’s new Ovi Maps release as the Finnish mobility giant’s slap at Google, which added similar functionality to its Google Android mobile operating system in October when it released Google Maps Navigation, which takes elements from the widely used Google Maps and Google Street View and layers voice search and turn-by-turn voice directions

Here are five reasons why Nokia’s Ovi Maps offering will beat Google for Smartphone-based maps and navigation supremacy.

1. Nokia Is The Leader In The Mobile Phone Market.

Nokia is the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones and has the largest global installed base. While Google Android is still in its infancy, it is an uphill climb for Google to gain the mobile momentum that Nokia has established. Nokia adding Ovi Maps navigation and turn-by-turn walking and driving directions to its smartphone line will put navigation and GPS capabilities into more hands across the globe. According to a Canalys report, the installed-base of smartphones with integrated GPS was 163 million in 2009 and Nokia accounted for more than half of them, 83 million to be exact.

2. Nokia Ovi Maps Is More Widely Available.

The new version of Nokia Ovi Maps includes high-end car and pedestrian navigation features like turn-by-turn voice guidance for 74 countries, in 46 languages, and traffic information for more than 10 countries. It also adds detailed maps for more than 180 countries. Google offers free car navigation in the U.S. only.

3. Nokia Ovi Maps Will Be Available On More Devices.

At its launch, 10 Nokia devices will support Nokia Ovi Maps, including the N97 mini, the 5800 XpressMusic and the E72. More phones will be added in the coming weeks and come March Nokia plans to start releasing new phones with the Ovi Mapssoftware pre-installed. Google Maps Navigation got its start on the Motorola Droid in October. Since then it has also been made available pre-installed on the Google Nexus One.

4. Nokia Ovi Maps Can Work Offline.

There’s nothing worse than trying to find your way and not having a connection to do so. Nokia Maps Ovi uses a hybrid system that can operate both when it is connected to the Internet and when it is completely offline, meaning when you can’t catch network coverage you can still get directions. Google Maps Navigation requires a connection.

5. Nokia Is Packing In A Host Of Other Features.

Included with Nokia Ovi Maps are a host of additional services not offered by Google Maps Navigation. Nokia Ovi Maps gives free access to traffic data and travel guides from Lonely Planet. It also ties in other location-based services with a location-sharing feature that works directly with Facebook.

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