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Cellphones Transportation Linux

Nokia To Make GPS Navigation Free On Smartphones 300

Posted by timothy
from the las-vegas-effect dept.
mliu writes "In what is sure to be a blow to the already beleaguered stand-alone GPS market, Nokia, the global leader in smartphone market share, has released a fully offline-enabled free GPS navigation and mapping application for its Symbian smartphones. Furthermore, the application also includes Lonely Planet and Michelin guides. Unfortunately, the N900, which is beloved by geeks for its Maemo Linux-based operating system, has not seen any of the navigation love so far. With Google's release of Google Navigation for Android smartphones, and now Nokia doing one better and releasing an offline-enabled navigation application, hopefully this is the start of a trend where this becomes an expected component of any smartphone."
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Nokia To Make GPS Navigation Free On Smartphones

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  • by Tillmann (859300) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @07:52PM (#30854192)

    My experience has so far been rather positive. Even an old N82 is an adequate replacement for a dedicated GPS, IMHO.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mnmn (145599)
      Yeah but does it have an aviation sixpack?
      The aviation screen is just software, but Garmin charges an arm and a leg for it. It would be great to have a rough altimeter, airspeed indicator along with the map as a backup while up there.
  • I recently drove from Portland OR to SF BayArea and was re-routed around traffic backups while in transit. This was with the TomTom Live system. Will phone based GPS apps do that and let me talk on the phone? I don't get this rush to put everything in a phone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You don't get the convenience of having so much in one small package at your fingertips whenever you want it? .. wow

      • by nigelo (30096)

        You don't get the convenience of having so much in one small package at your fingertips whenever you want it? .. wow

        Not if it means my passenger can't navigate and have a phone conversation at the same time, no.

        It might be hard to see the screen while it's held up to their ear, no?

        • by oakgrove (845019)
          My G1 speaks the directions loudly and clearly even when I am talking on the phone. In fact, it's rather annoying until I remember that I need them to tell where I'm going.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I dont either.

        I'd rather use a proper camera that takes good pictures and not some crappy phone.
        I'd rather use a proper computer to web browse and no some tiny screened phone with an awful keyboard I cant use.
        I'd rather use a media player to play a movie and not some tiny picture on a phone.

        If I want something to do a job, I find the best tool for the job, not one tool that tries to do everything (and badly).

        I still use a Nokia 6210 with a green screen because I use it as a phone. Its the best phone I've e

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Interesting capability; I wasn't very impressed with the TomTom when trying it in stores, myself. I asked it to find a route from San Jose to New York City and it sat there with a progress bar that looked like it would take half an hour to complete. The Garmin unit next door had something in two or three seconds, tops.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mkiwi (585287)

      Will phone based GPS apps do that and let me talk on the phone?

      For the sake of us all: Please do not drive and talk on the phone at the same time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      From what I've seen, the iphone won't reroute you in transit unless you tell it to get new directions. It does show traffic, one would hope it calculates that.

      My standalone magellan does not have traffic reports at all. It could have, for extra dollars a year. It also doesn't get updated without more fees, and after a few years that becomes annoying. Granted, the iphone data plan is not exactly free, the fees for the magellan's subscription and a dumbphone would probably be less.

      I don't get this rush to put everything in a phone.

      For me at least, I never

    • I agree .. I also want a dedicated GPS for my car/motorcycle. We just purchased a Nuvi for the car .. the screen is much larger than a phone and easier to see. At a glance, it is simple to see the upcoming streets, speed limits, distance to next turn, what the next turn will be, estimated time to the turn, and estimated time to destination. My wife used to use her Blackberry for GPS, but loves using the Nuvi, it's a lot easier to use and less distracting.

      I use a Garmin 60CSx on my motorcycle. It scre
  • How much memory is required to store the entire database for GPS navigation? Do most smart phones even have that much memory? Sure, Google maps is annoying when you drive out of range of a data service cell tower and it suddenly tells you "I have absolutely no fucking idea where you are now!" but I assumed there was enough data there that it actually _needed_ to be connected. I'd be more than happy to just have it update the data when connected and still work when not connected.
    • Re:Offline GPS? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @08:12PM (#30854408)

      Apparently not that much, since they already fit in a GPS device. I'm pretty sure my Garmin doesn't have a huge multi-gig flash drive, as old as it is. Not to mention they could just cache- most people don't travel more than 100 miles frequently, they could download the area where you're at on first use, then update it if and only if you move twoards the edges of that zone (basically in ral time for a long car ride, after landing for an airplane).

      • by karnal (22275)

        I actually have Garmin on my windows mobile (ATT Fuze) - so it's possible to do this.

        What would be cool from my perspective (to get me off Garmin totally:)

        1. turn by turn by google (already doing this on other OS/devices)
        2. Store my route/maps to cover the route and then some in case of loss of signal (x miles in each direction?)

      • We have a PostGIS database and just using the data available from the USGS and various state mapping agencies, our database is around 300 MB for roads, town, and zip code boundaries for the United States. Granted I'm sure that will be increasing as more data is added. It is an on going process.

    • by heffrey (229704)

      Plenty of memory on a micro-sd card

    • To give you a real answer (since noone else has done anything besides speculate about their dedicated GPS units)

      My nokia maps installation gave me the choice of what maps I wanted available offline (it could download others) I could choose it by country and in the US I could choose state (and maybe even city). I added the entire US (or maybe north america). the cities folder on my microsd card is currently sitting at 1.4GB although it told me 1.2 would be used. I think the world was about 8gb.

      I don't

    • Re:Offline GPS? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @09:48PM (#30855270) Journal
      You can download the OpenStreetMap maps for offline use. There's a rather neat Java app that creates a J2ME app with a selectable subset of the data for you. How much space you need depends on how large an area you want. I put everywhere within about an hour's drive of my house on my old phone. With a bigger flash card it's pretty easy to fit the whole UK on (around 150MB, as I recall).
  • by viking80 (697716) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @08:05PM (#30854340) Journal

    When iPhone came out with free navigation, even if Garmin is a lot better, I concluded that I will never buy a standalone:
    - GPS navigator
    - compact camera.
    - camcorder.
    - watch
    - document scanner
    - portable game console
    - mp3 player, video player
    - a bunch of other things from last century like voice recorder, calculator, radio etc.

    With 8Gb camera, 720p video, GPS navigator, I will be better off upgrading the phone every year than buying all these devices every 3 years. I am sure it will not take more than 2 years for a feature in my phone to beat the standalone device in features/functionality, and best of all, I will have it in my hand when I need it, not in a drawer somewhere.

    • by peipas (809350)

      While I agree with your sentiments, what is an 8Gb camera? Is that like a 1.6GHz hard drive?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by interkin3tic (1469267)

        You can name your camera and hard drive whatever crazy combination of letters and numbers you want.

        (He was of course referring to the storage size of the iphone.)

        • by wbren (682133)

          8Gb seems a bit small. Photos, music, and applications will fill up 1GB pretty quickly. /nitpick

    • by Ahnteis (746045) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @08:30PM (#30854584)

      - GPS navigator
      - compact camera.
      - camcorder.
      - watch
      - document scanner
      - portable game console
      - mp3 player, video player
      - a bunch of other things from last century like voice recorder, calculator, radio etc.

      Your GPS doesn't get traffic data.
      Your camera has a horribly small lens and is good only for taking 4x6 photos.
      Your watch can't be kept with you while doing anything active.
      Your document scanner is horrible quality.
      Your portable game console is limited by having touchscreen only and no physical controls.
      Using your mp3 player/video player (and any of the above) will deplete your phone battery so you can't receive calls.
      etc.

      I get that it may work for you, but there's a good market for standalone devices for a reason.

      • Google maps on my Blackberry gets traffic updates. The accuracy seems to be about 15 to 30 minutes. The camera is the one thing I would not sacrifice as an inclusion in the phone - the lens is just far too bad.

      • by blue l0g1c (1007517)
        Your $500 iPhone would never replace my $30 refurbed Sansa e260 with rockbox installed. It plays more formats, is smaller, runs longer, and I don't have to take out an insurance policy for it if I want to take it biking.
      • Your GPS doesn't get traffic data.

        Yes it does. My standalone GPS (magellan) on the other hand, doesn't.

        Your camera has a horribly small lens and is good only for taking 4x6 photos.
        Your watch can't be kept with you while doing anything active.
        Your document scanner is horrible quality.
        Your portable game console is limited by having touchscreen only and no physical controls.

        All of these features are better (read: PRESENT) in the phone and not in the GPS. Also, all of the devices I have which individually do those other things do everything else much worse.

        And I usually don't bring all those things with me wherever I go.

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Your GPS doesn't get traffic data.

        The iPhone? Yah it does, in my city at least. (Seattle.)

        Not to dispute your point, but it would help your point if you actually made sure your examples were correct.

    • by MBCook (132727)

      At this point, the stand alone GPS industry is in trouble. It came of age too late. A stand alone GPS has a few advantages, some of which may disappear:

      • It's cheaper than a phone with an equivalent screen/storage... for now.
      • Better accuracy (phones probably won't need to ever be as accurate)
      • Smaller / more durable
      • Works without cell network (although phones are capable of that

      GPS will stick around for some applications. A in-dash GPS will always have a bigger screen than your phone. No one would be stupid eno

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Luckyo (1726890)

        Using my own nokia xm5800 and tomtom's 4 inch mid-range navigator I had to use before it I have to note that you're ignorant of the current form factors in GPS world vs nokia phones, at least as far as Europe is concerned.

        - it's smaller then any decent navigator on the market, in every aspect. Pretty much any autonavi sold nowadays has a 4 inch screen, and is usually fairly heavy (several hundred grams) and bulky. It's not something that will fit your pocket. My 5800 even fits into the small right side "poc

        • by MBCook (132727)

          The Motorola Droid has some of the features (like voice navigation).

          I used Google Maps because it's what I'm familiar with, and it works fine for my light needs. But there is better software out there for the iPhone (and other phones) to provide the additional features a stand alone GPS device has such as mapping data without relying on the cell network.

          People may still upgrade their GPS software if they have bigger needs, but what's been happening in cell phones (as well as, to a lesser degree, more and

    • As long as you are fine with having a single point of failure then go for it. I'll stick to my standalone GPS and my MP3 Player to augment my smartphone.

      A toolbox > a multitool. The multitool is great for quick fixes, but nothing replaces using the right tool for the right job, not to mention my aforementioned single point of failure problem.

      • As long as you are fine with having a single point of failure...

        Speaking for myself, I usually lose these gadgets before they fail with one exception; for some reason I was able to hang on to my ancient RCA 5 gig b/w display usb mp3 player for something like 6 years. It finally gave me a "File system failure" error that a reset couldn't correct. Other than that, my gadget collection is one long list of lost or stolen devices over the years, not one of them "failed" in the broken sense. Unless you can say my

    • The one thing I disagree with heartily is "calculator." The computer algebra system of my TI-89 is excellent, far better than anything I've seen for an iPhone.
  • While I'm all for this (because what guy doesn't want free GPS on his phone?) isn't there an aspect of it that paints Nokia as essentially undercutting the entire GPS market? The leader in smartphones is now offering a product for free - am I wrong in thinking that there's something not so nice in relation to the market going on there? I'm thinking of a cross between Microsoft and steel dumping.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      No more concern than what Google is doing then.. they repeat the same give away method everywhere they turn and decimate business models of any already there making it VERY skewed.

      With quarterly profit just announced US$1 Billion + they can afford to do this at competitors detriment who rely on "real" income in the normal way and who dont have benefit of large enough sise for ad support.

      Good on someone with capacity to stick something back to Google for a change if thats what its going to do.

    • by abulafia (7826)

      It can't be dumping, which is selling comparable commodities below cost. (These measurements don't make a lot of sense when we're talking software -- what is the per-unit "cost" of making an instance of software that runs on a phone? All the physical items for GPS navigation are already there, and break-even cost of development depends on how many instances of the software are produced, so per-unit costs go down when you give it away.)

      And Nokia may be huge, but with strong competitors in Apple and Google,

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @08:49PM (#30854810)

      GPS apps have been insanely overpriced. There was maybe justification for paying $100 for an actual GPS receiver and dedicated computer plus software, but charing $100 for some map data and a simple app to display it was never going to be a tenable practice. The navigation companies milked their hardware for a few years and got to milk their software for a year or so. Now they're going to have to compete.

      • by anethema (99553)
        They are all constantly on sale from 50-80$ Even $80 isn't so bad for all the software inside a standalone GPS unit costing at least $300 (and probably more) for the same features. Heck the map licensing alone is probably a pretty significant cost.

        Calling $100 for a dedicated GPS with touchscreen AND the map licensing, all the R&D for routing, lane guidance, etc "maybe" justified is pretty crazy if you ask me. The $199 price point is a fairly sweet one.
  • There are very few times when off-line maps are useful in a car. For those times, there are real GPS units (ones that have batteries that last for 16 hours instead of 2 hours and can survive a fall or water or the like). The thing that makes Google maps navigation so useful to me (on my Droid) are the live traffic updates. Plus, I don't have to worry about downloading maps onto my cell phone. Everything is updated all the time, and I can have my phone re-route me on alternate routes based on current traffic

    • Also to note... Garmin has several models with built-in traffic from Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network (running in an RDS feed on most of their FM signals), and now provides lifetime service with add-on devices for other models at a much lower price. They also offer a lifetime map update download service, with refreshes every quarter. So, if you're in an area that has radio but not good cellular, the up-to-date info can be with you.
    • Ovi Maps does real-time online map downloads just fine, along with real-time online traffic updates, weather, events, location sharing, etc. However, by allowing you to store maps on the memory card (a few gig can cover the US and most of Europe) you aren't *forced* to be online to use it. Handy for those treks into more rural areas (where 3G coverage, not to mention road signs, is a luxury and offline nav becomes really beneficial). Also nice when you're off-network and don't want to pay crazy data roaming

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      There are very few times when off-line maps are useful in a car.

      Do they put crack in the water where you live, or do you have to go down and buy it off the street?

  • Standalone GPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @08:18PM (#30854476) Homepage Journal

    I own an openmoko and my wife owns an HTC Magic, running android. I know five or so people who own iPhones. I am yet to see a device which can replace my Garmin etrex.

    I regularly attach the garmin to the deck of my sea kayak and dunk it in the ocean. I don't plan on doing that to a smart phone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I regularly attach the garmin to the deck of my sea kayak and dunk it in the ocean. I don't plan on doing that to a smart phone.

      Meanwhile, I refuse to buy another smartphone until I can get one that I can attach to the deck of a sea kayak and dunk it in the ocean. Just got a nokia 1661... it makes calls and rings alarms, and was twenty bucks. I'd like more features, but I'd like them on a device that's not a fragile piece of shit as nearly all electronics seem to be.

    • True. iPhones and the like have nothing on my Foretrex 401, or even the ordinary yellow eTrex. The interface on these devices is even much better than that on smartphone GPS applications - some are so oversimplified you can't even see the coordinates.

      The foretrex is wrist mounted so its actually more convenient than an all in one device, unless you feel like strapping an iphone to your wrist.
    • Without a doubt the market for standalone GPS units will survive, but the question is in what form. It would be a huge loss for Garmin et al if they're reduced to making rugged specialty GPS devices while smartphones take over the lucrative in-car navigation that represents 99% of consumer usage.

      The advantages of a GFS device with a data connection are numerous. Live traffic, live updates, live information (such as gas prices). Those are all download-oriented, but many of the promising usages are bidirec

    • Re:Standalone GPS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Idbar (1034346) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @09:39PM (#30855188)
      iPhones are not good at navigation yet, I own one, and have lots of problems. I've seen HTC tilt running TomTom software and is good, but hangs sometimes. My girlfriend bought an E75, and despite of some normal issues like thinking I'm on a parallel road, the effectiveness of their system has been, to me one the best among those I tried.

      I differ about a previous comment of not buying another stand alone in my life, as I appreciate photography and cellphones cameras are far from a stand alone one. Nokia has been doing a good work also there (Pictures of my iPhone suck real bad compared to my girlfriend's E75).
      • by kimvette (919543)

        iPhones are not good at navigation yet, I own one, and have lots of problems. I've seen HTC tilt running TomTom software and is good, but hangs sometimes.

        TomTom on the iPhone is better than my old Teletype GPS, and it is better than standalone TomTom and Garmins I have used. It doesn't drop due to incoming calls either, because I jailbroke my phone and installed backgrounder so I could force the phone to not suspend the app. It's by far the best street navigation GPS solution I've used.

    • do you think garmin will remain the company it is today selling GPS units to the subset of kayakers that require a GPS? i think that's what people are getting at. of course there's a market for offline, rugged GPS units, but companies like garmin and tom-tom are living of the spoils of consumer level auto GPS units.

      standalone GPS companies are going to shrink, which means they will have less $ for r&d, which means their features will start to lag behind smart phone GPS software. in other words, a dow
    • Re:Standalone GPS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tpwch (748980) <slashdot@tpwch.com> on Friday January 22, 2010 @01:21AM (#30856584) Homepage
      I have this waterproof casing for my N800: http://www.otterbox.com/handheld-pda-cases/2600-series/2600-series-pda-case/ [otterbox.com]

      Waterproof up to one meter, and it floats so no worries about loosing it in the water. Also shock resistant and crush resistant. I bought it many years ago for the palm I've used then, and I was happy to see that the N800 was also usable in it. I hope the N900 is as well since I plan on getting one at some point, but it should be, since its about the same size.

      I use my N800 as a GPS outside sometimes, and use this so I don't have to worry about dropping it in a moist terrain or if it starts raining. I also use it for reading ebooks when taking a bath.

      So a smartphone/pda doesn't have to be unusable in conditions like the ones you describe. Altough I'm not sure if you could make phonecalls while its inside the shield, it might block the sound waves too much. Touchscreen devices work great on it, since one side has a soft transparent plastic film over where the screen is. Buttons on the front work well trough it too. Buttons on the side or top are not reachable however.

      I did some tests with mine, among other things leaving it at the bottom of my bathtub for 24 hours with something heavy on it to make it stay at the bottom. No moisture got in.

      So pdas/smartphones aren't necceserily useless in the conditions you describe, you just have to have the right gear for it.
  • Please note that the Palm Pre and Pixi (WebOS) already has "free" navigation. The base Sprint dataplan (unlike Verizon) for those phones includes turn-by-turn Sprint navigation at no extra cost (Verizon is $10/mo more, I believe for that feature and that is on top of the service plan already $20 beings per month than Sprint when you include unlimited text messaging. Sprint also has free mobile to ANY mobile communication, and better nights/weekends.) My point is, although it is not "stand alone" navigatio
    • Unless users are way out in nowhere, those users already have most all of the same features of a stand-alone GPS.

      On the other hand, if I'm way out in nowhere, I definitely need directions in order to get somewhere. That's where downloadable maps shine.

      Also, keeping that connection open to the Internet in order to get your maps probably does not do wonders for your battery life. This isn't a big deal if you're in a car, granted, but some of us use alternate means of transportation.

      • Unless users are way out in nowhere, those users already have most all of the same features of a stand-alone GPS.

        On the other hand, if I'm way out in nowhere, I definitely need directions in order to get somewhere. That's where downloadable maps shine.

        In my definition of nowhere, communications (other than satellite comms) won't be working so downloading won't work.

        • Sorry--I didn't say that correctly. I meant "previously downloaded" maps shine (ie maps stored on the phone).

          Mea culpa.

  • Maybe now that they're planning to make it free, it won't be so deplorably poor?

    I have an E71 and I'd abandoned Nokia's mapping solutions because a) it seems impossible to search for anything and b) street numbers seem to have no relation to your physical position.

    Nokia makes very good hardware and the operating system seems solid, but the software is incredibly half-baked. It's like the developers give when they've met the bare-minimum specifications and move on. In the case of GPS, I've yet to see another

  • Just checked and they do not offer it for the E75, one of their pricier, GPS enabled phones. Man, do I feel like an idiot for buying one now.
    • by jcarkeys (925469)
      Available for E72, but not E71. Grrr.... Nokia!
    • That's doubtful because my e71 has maps/gps. Do you have Windows and have you installed their middleware? From there, you should be able to get GPS maps installed.

      • by jcarkeys (925469)
        My E71 can use Ovi Maps, but the only problem is that as of now you have to use a subscription, over the air system to get navigation (just like Google maps, sans subscription). What this new update does is allow offline navigation, but that new option hasn't been released (yet?) for the E71.
      • Replying to myself, while I can update to v3.0 from the v2.0 the E75 came with, I do not think it is the free nav version. The OVI store is not well laid out. However the new map data required is claiming a 127 minute download over wireless. Hope work doesn't call with a crashed DB. Sigh. US gets screwed in phones and cars due to stupid regulations.
  • Just wondering if this is provider dependent. Can the provider ask or change the GPS feature on the phone to simply turn it off unless you pay them x per month? And if you turn off the phone and use GPS, I assume there won't be any roaming charges since your phone is talking to the GPS satellite? I plan on travelling more often to the US (from Canada) and was hoping a GPS plus local maps on a smartphone would be handy.

    I'd like to get a GPS since I've seen some software you can add to some smart phones to lo

  • Predictions of the death of the stand-alone automotive GPS market are premature. Screens on cell phones are not really large enough for anything but simple rudimentary navigation, and because cell phones will always remain small, this will never change.
  • I have been resisting the tying of GPS with cell tech (like OnStar) because I didn't like the idea of my car/cell/insurance/anyone else knowing where I was/how fast I was going/where I'd recently been at any time. The traditional stand-alone GPS was like radio; it only received info about satellite positions. It never gave info away.

    But I think my resistance was futile since even new stand-alone GPS units are coming with built-in 'network access' for traffic, weather, and who only know what else. I long f
  • by mpapet (761907) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @10:27PM (#30855522) Homepage

    Seriously, you don't know what you guys are missing with Nokia/Symbian phones.

    -Media players play DRM free files.
    -Easy 802.11 access/use
    -Decent 'office' application. Opens my text files, that's all I care about.
    -SMTP support. I know they HAD crackberry support on my old communicator. I assume it's still available.
    -Apps for a sysadmin.
    -Solid mobile java support
    -GPS, directions, and all that. However, you need windows as an intermediary between the phone and nokia's maps.
    -Symbian is years ahead of Apple or Google's OS. Multiple apps open at the same time, global cut + paste.

    I assume later model phones will do all of this too. It's just that Nokia appears to have a very hard time in the U.S.

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