Today, Nokia announced the inclusion of free turn by turn navigation on ten phone models – further enhancing Ovi’s value proposition. The service, which is almost certainly to be seen as a fast follower to Google’s similar launch in late 2009 should in fact be viewed as pushing an industry on the precipice over the edge. But the question is – does turn by turn even matter?
From purely a platform perspective – yes, for now. For others such as Apple to follow suit they will need map data, turn by turn licensing agreements, an acquisition perhaps, or take a hit on margins. While Apple may find a way to bring turn by turn to the iPhone in short order, Nokia and Google have laid down the gauntlet by using maps as a competitive differentiator, a difference the companies must hammer home while the advantage is theirs. The proprietary ownership of mapping data is a huge advantage for Nokia (Navteq) and Google.
There is a famous saying, wherever you go – there you are. But such antiquated logic demands an update and today we would be trite not to say, wherever you are - there your phone is. If you are not yet prepared to accept this reality you should peruse Yelp
and you will clearly see that the future of mobile is not only about where you are but where you are going.
By enabling turn by turn navigation on its devices both Google and Nokia have assured developers that location based services will be available to those seeking to include them in applications while making location based advertising easier.
Nokia has two advantages over Google. Firstly its scale - S60 devices are ahead of Android devices, for now at least. Secondly, its navigation solution resides primarily on the device, not on the network. For users who travel internationally and don’t want to pay roaming charges, those with spotty coverage, or those who don’t want a data plan this is a huge advantage. For carriers hoping to offload some network congestion this approach is a relief. Of course, it's threat to carriers hoping to bundle TBT for an additional cost. For consumers (primarily those that do not own stock in a GPS manufacturer) this is a big win. For Nokia, "free" is a significant improvement on its current proposition but the company will have to do more in the long term to be seen as an innovator and not a fast follower.
Despite the momentum building towards turn by turn navigation the features are simply a means towards a longer term end. Knowing where people are, where they are going, and how they are getting there is incredibly valuable information and could lead to a plethora of new advertising opportunities in addition to new applications.
Nokia strides forward in online location and navigation
Location based services, opportunities within an emerging battleground