Tag Archives: GPS

Samsung launches i899 Android smartphone on RCom's EVDO network

8 Jul

Last week, we had reported that RCom will get India’s first CDMA Android smartphone in the form of the Samsung i899. Today, the news just became official. RCom has launched the Android smartphone, which will run on its EVDO enabled network, giving users the ability to browse the web at high speeds that can go up to 3.1 Mbps (in theory).

Priced at Rs 19,900, the i899 seems to indicate a good buy, considering its specs – 3.2 inch AMOLED display, 3.2 MP camera, Wi-Fi, GPS and especially high speed Internet browsing. Plus, prepaid customers will get a month’s subscription of RCom’s Netconnect+ Internet service (up to 10 GB) while postpaid subscribers will get two months of service free (up to 15 GB). The only thing we are not sure of is which version of Android does it work on as we have a hunch that it might be working on Android 1.6.

Nokia acquires Metacarta, a map search company

9 Apr

Nokia today announced it has acquired Metacarta, a company that specialises in searching content in maps. Nokia intends to use its resources for Local Search in Ovi Maps and other services. Recently, Nokia had made its Ovi Maps service free for certain smartphones.

Now, Peek gets a locator service

6 Apr

No, we are not turning into Peek evangelists (are those called “Peekers”? Hmm…), but we must confess to being impressed by the flurry of services being released for this only e-mail device. Just a few days ago, we were talking about the ability to access cricket scores and Twitter updates on the device, now comes real-time tracking, which lets you tell people where you are, discover where you left the device when you cannot find it, and if you have other people who have Peeks (say, your coworkers), check up where they are, among other things. You can even slap your location as a widget on a blog.

No, it is not going to be as accurate as real GPS, as the Peek does not have GPS built into it, but it is still pretty handy, and of course, consumes lesser battery. Best of all, it is free. You just need to sign up for it at http://www.peekmaps.com/. Hmm…perhaps those who called the Peek a one-trick pony need to do a bit of rethinking.

Nokia unveils the first device from its new C-Series – the C5!

2 Mar

Nokia has unveiled the first device from its Cseries range, the C5. The device is a mid-end smartphone (as Nokia calls it) and is based on the Symbian S60 3rd edition OS. It has a 2.2-inch display, a 3.2 MP camera, A-GPS, 3G connectivity, stereo FM radio, 3.5mm audio jack, internal memory of 2 GB expandable up to 16 GB with a microSD storage card, a quick access bar on the home screen and a talktime of up to 12 hours.

The handheld also supports Nokia Messaging and Nokia Ovi Maps with free turn-by-turn navigation.
The Nokia C5 is expected to hit certain markets in Q2 this year. The anticipated price of the handheld before taxes and subsidies is €135.

Did Nokia miss the bus by offering free navigation too late?

21 Jan

Today, Nokia announced that it will offer its turn-by-turn, voice-enabled navigation service called Ovi Maps free of cost to consumers. At the moment, the free navigation service can be used on 10 Nokia smartphones that are already out there and all GPS-enabled Nokia smartphones that are shipped from March this year would have it pre-embedded. While this, no doubt, is a great news, but I just wonder whether Nokia missed the bus of capturing the market by offering it for free right from day one.

A bit of history: While Google Maps has been around for ages, Nokia’s ‘navigation’ solution (emphasis on the word navigation) was much better from the beginning as it provided voice-enabled turn-by-turn navigation for over 100 countries. Nokia even went to the extent of acquiring Navteq, which provided the crucial map data on which its solution was based. However, Nokia decided to charge consumers by making them purchase a licence if they wanted to use turn-by-turn navigation though one could still do the routing without paying up. Now Google was also offering routing for free, which did not give consumers a reason enough to buy a Nokia ‘navigator’ phone when you could do it on any other phone with Google Maps.

Now consider this. Today, Google already provides Street View and voice-based turn-by-turn navigation in the US, where Nokia continues to struggle to gain a foothold. Could the story have been different had Nokia just provided free navigation and include the cost in the price of the device while Google was not offering navigation? Well, that’s what it is likely to do now, as you may remember ‘nothing comes for free’.

Coming back to the present, I believe that Nokia has finally done the right thing and at probably the right possible time, considering that Android is eating whatever share Apple had left of Nokia’s smartphone pie. Free navigation will help Nokia make consumers focus at navigation in markets like India, where they still own over 60 percent of marketshare. It will give Nokia a better selling point than others that include the iPhone as well as smartphones based on Android and WinMo.

I tried the new Ovi Maps services for a while today and was left pretty impressed by the solution. To be frank, it looked very un-Nokia like with a clean interface and everything accessible within a click or two. Nokia is also providing some ‘premium’ content for free, which includes location-based content from Lonely Planet, Michellin and Burrp, the last one being India-centric and shows the closest places to eat as well as events happening around you.

In short, everything seems to be working fine (we’ll try posting a detailed review in the coming days). What remains to be seen is how Nokia can capitalise on it and whether it is capable of delivering cheap, GPS-enabled phones (I’m talking sub-$200) with free navigation on it. Also, it would be interesting if Nokia could come up with a mini application store within Ovi Maps that has some applications built on top of the service. Think about geo-tagged Tweets that show up on the map, augimented reality apps and stuff like that. That could possibly be one of the money-minting avenues for Nokia. Just a word of advice – keep that part of the application store within Ovi Maps and not on the Ovi Store. Wishful thinking, I guess but nevertheless.

Nokia announces free turn-by-turn navigation

21 Jan

Even as we wait for Nokia to make its ‘big announcement’, we have received a press release informing us that Nokia will now provide free turn-by-turn navigation to its smartphones. Currently, the free navigation is available on 10 smartphones and all new GPS-enabled phones launched March onwards would have the free service pre-installed. The 10 devices that currently support it are – Nokia X6, Nokia N97 mini, E72, E55, E52, Nokia 6730 classic, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic, Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition, Nokia 5230. Surprisingly, there is no mention of Nokia’s flagship phone of 2009 – the N97. Stay tuned for more.

Those of you who have those 10 devices can go here to download the free update.

Nokia makes walk and drive navigation free on its smartphones, doubling size of mobile navigation market

Espoo, Finland – Nokia has today announced plans to release a new version of Ovi Maps for its smartphones that includes high-end walk and drive navigation at no extra cost, available for download at www.nokia.com/maps. This move has the potential to nearly double the size of the current mobile navigation market. The new version of Ovi Maps includes high-end car and pedestrian navigation features, such as turn-by-turn voice guidance for 74 countries, in 46 languages, and traffic information for more than 10 countries, as well as detailed maps for more than 180 countries.
“Why have multiple devices that work that work in only one country or region? Put it all together, make it free, make it global and you almost double the potential size of the mobile navigation market ,” explained Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President, Nokia. “Nokia is the only company with a mobile navigation service for both drivers and pedestrians that works across the world. Unlike the legacy car navigation manufacturers, we don’t make you buy maps for different countries or regions even if you’re only visiting for a few days. We offer both navigation and maps free of charge, with all the high-end functionality and features that people now expect.”
“The large-scale availability of free-of-charge mobile phone navigation offerings using high-quality map data will be a game changer for the navigation industry,” said Thilo Koslowski, Vice President Automotive and Vehicle ICT at Gartner. “Such offerings will accelerate mass market adoption for navigation solutions and shift innovation focus to location-based services that go beyond traditional routing benefits.”
For Nokia, removing the costs associated with navigation for drivers and pedestrians allows the company to quickly activate a massive user base to which it can offer new location features, content and services. This is part of Nokia’s strategy to lead the market in mobile maps, navigation and location-based services. The move is also in line with Nokia’s vision that the next wave of growth will be centered on the location-aware, social internet — as the ‘where’ people are doing things becomes as important as the ‘what’ they are doing. 
According to research firm Canalys, the number of people worldwide using GPS navigation on their mobile phones was approximately 27 million at the end of 2009. With this announcement Nokia potentially grows the size of this installed user base to about 50 million by enabling smartphone owners, with compatible devices and devices that will be made compatible shortly to activate free drive and walk navigation through a simple download of the new Ovi Maps. Nokia will further grow this base as it quickly adds more smartphones to the compatible devices list. Canalys also estimated in 2009 that the installed base of smartphones with integrated GPS was 163 million units worldwide, of which Nokia accounted for more than half (51%) having shipped  cumulatively  83 million GPS devices.  
“This is a game changing move. By leveraging our NAVTEQ acquisition, and our context sensitive service offering, we can now put a complete navigation system in the palm of your hand, wherever in the world you are, whenever you need it – and at no extra cost,” continued Anssi Vanjoki. “By adding cameras at no extra cost to our phones we quickly became the biggest camera manufacturer in the world. The aim of the new Ovi Maps is to enable us to do the same for navigation.”
By removing the added costs for consumers Nokia expects to fuel the take-up of mobile maps and navigation providing its ecosystem of partners with clear business opportunities:
– For operators:
Nokia believes it will enable them to offer their customers a complete car and personal navigation package as well as encourage the take-up of data plans. An additional benefit for operators is that Ovi Maps uses a unique hybrid technology that is optimized for use on a mobile network. By using advanced vector graphics, plus an intelligent combination of pre-loaded and online maps, the new version of Ovi Maps uses a fraction of the bandwidth of the bulky bitmap technology used by most mobile map providers.
– For 3rd party application developers:
Making navigation on a mobile as familiar as sending a text or taking a picture presents a huge opportunity as the customer base for additional location-based applications expands. Via the Ovi for Developers Beta Program, Nokia has given selected developers and publishers a preview of the Ovi APIs and SDK – Beta (software development kit) which will allow them to build such applications. These will then be made available through Ovi Store by Nokia.
Ovi Maps is immediately available for download for 10 Nokia handsets, including the popular Nokia N97 mini, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and Nokia E72, with more Nokia smartphones expected to be added in the coming weeks. In the meantime, current owners of Nokia smartphones that are compatible with the new Ovi Maps can download it free of charge from www.nokia.com/maps.
From March 2010, new Nokia GPS-enabled smartphones will include the new version of Ovi Maps, pre-loaded with local country map data, with high-end walk and drive navigation and access to Lonely Planet and Michelin travel guides at no extra cost. 
Ovi Maps covers more than 180 countries with car and pedestrian navigation for 74 countries in 46 languages and 6000 3D landmarks for 200 cities around the world. Lonely Planet and Michelin guides have information on more than 1,000 destinations globally.

Nokia 2710 Navigation Edition brings GPS to low-end phones

8 Dec

Nokia, has renewed its 2710 Classic and has announced 2710 Navigation Edition that features Nokia Maps and GPS navigation. It will be the cheapest phone to come with GPS functionality when it is launched in Q2, 2010.

The handheld features a 2.2-inch display, 2.0 MP camera, FM radio, microSD card slot with 2GB included (expandable up to 16 GB) and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The device will give up to 4 hours and 20 minutes of talk time and will run as much as 18 days.


The handheld is expected for sales in the second quarter of 2010 and will be retailed at around Rs 7,000 will come with a car cradle and a car charger.

Google makes search on the go fun with voice, location and sight

8 Dec

Google today announced some new ways in which users can search for information on their mobile phones. While we already could dial a number to search, talk to Google’s voice search app on smartphones or do it the normal way by going online, Google today has taken things many a leap ahead.

First comes voice search – Google has introduced voice search support for Japanese after English and Mandarin. Now we ain’t really kicked up about that but rather what Google is trying to do. The guys at Googleplex are trying to evolve voice search into a voice translator. One day you will be able to find out how to say “How you doin’?” in multiple languages by using Google’s voice translator!

Then comes search by location. Now this should have been the most logical thing to do with most phones coming with inbuilt GPS chips. But then no one really did it so far (apart from a couple startups probably that never made it big). What happens here? Nothing extraordinary but now within Google Maps, you’d be able to find out the ten places nearby worth checking out. Simple and sweet. One can also do nearby search on the iPhone and Android phones using the browser and turning on ‘my location’ option. Well, we have had this feature on for some weeks now and it really works.

But what really caught our attention is a project called Google Goggles. You simply click a picture of an object and the application identifies it and searches for it on the web. Sound similar to SnapTell, we think, which really works for finding out information about books, CDs and similar media. Of course, Google takes it much further and now you’d be able to find more about landmarks, buildings and much more. And hey, it can even work as a business card scanner. Watch the video of Goggles in work below.

And now the caveat – yup, there’s always one. Goggles and Maps Search will only work on Android devices running OS 1.6 and later.

Google Latitude now backtracks your footsteps, alerts you when friends are around

12 Nov

Remember Google Latitude? Yeah, the same app on Google Maps for mobile that shared your location with your friends? Well, it just got updated and now it can record your movements and show you where you were when you lied to your wifey about the conference you had to supposedly attend. Sweat not, cuz it wont show the history to your missus, just for you to see and smirk.

Another new addition is alerts when your friends are nearby. It ain’t as easy as it sounds or so Google would like us to believe. Hit the Google Mobile Blog for all the details.

Google Maps with voice based navigation to be the biggest game changer after iPhone

28 Oct

This is going to be the biggest game changer in the cellphone industry after the iPhone was launched way back in 2007. Google today launched a beta version of Google Maps that provides real-time voice-based turn-by-turn navigation. The feature has been added in Android OS 2.0 and will be first available on the Motorola DROID, which was announced today.

Like all Google services, navigation on Google Maps will be free of cost and users will only have to pay for data usage. This move is going to hurt companies like Nokia, Tom Tom and others, which charge users either a subscription fee or a one-time upfront payment. Even the iPhone won’t be spared this time as it relies on third-party applications that are expensive.

Since this feature will be solely available on Android phones (at least initially) and lot of Android phones are expected to be launched over the coming weeks and months, we believe that Android will pick up substantially and has the potential to outdo Windows Mobile in a span of two years if not sooner. Even Nokia should be worried as it had envisioned Ovi to become an addition stream of revenue for them after they’ve sold their devices.

It’s advantage Google at the moment. Let’s see what Nokia and Microsoft have in store for us in 2010.

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