On Thursday Nokia announced that they would be brining free voice navigation to it's GPS Smartphones using Ovi Maps technology. Analysts are predicting that the move will force companies like TomTom, Garmin and Apple to react.
Nokia will be offering the Ovi Maps service on 10 of their smartphones for 74 countries and in 46 languages. Google offers a similar technology but it is currently only available in the U.S..
In November the Motorola Droid (a Google Android based smartphone) was released with free turn by turn GPS navigation software. Google's annoucement of the embedded technology saw TomTom's share price fall 20% and Garmin's dropped 16%.
Apple may be reading their own turn by turn GPS software for their January 27th press event. They currently have problems with conflicts of interests whereby they sell third party apps like TomTom via their app store. Releasing something at no cost to all of their iPhone users would not be good for TomTom or Garmin.
Nokia has not done very well in the US with their Symbian OS Smartphones losing out to BlackBerry, Apple iPhone & Android enabled Smartphones. They have more mobile phones in the world then any other manufacturer but are quickly losing the Smartphone wars.
Nokia's announcement led to an 11% drop in the price of TomTom shares in trading in Amsterdam, and to a 5.5% drop in the price of Garmin shares on Nasdaq.
The list of compatible Nokia smartphones is currently limited to E72, the E55, the E52, the N97 Mini, the X6, the 6730, the 6710 Navigator, the 5230 and the 5800.