OVI Maps. Nokia’s Killer App!
To be honest, I was not one of those early adopters of Ovi Maps (Nokia Maps then). Initially, like 2 years back, I was just keen on using maps to check my location. Also, then the first release had very less features compared to the feature rich, almost perfect Ovi Maps today. Why didn’t I use it? Because I used to not travel much then.
In the past I’ve owned like more than half a dozen of N-series, E-Series devices and 2 Navigator phones. There was no compromise on map experience across all phones, Except for licenses. That was the time when Nokia Maps was growing, later as and when the maps became popular, Nokia had offered 3 months free walk and drive licenses and other goodies bundled with the phone. The sales of GPS enabled devices saw an all time high, everyone wanted a GPS device then. Nokia picked huge market share there.
Then came a shocker, where Nokia announced free turn-by-turn navigation service on all Nokia GPS-enabled devices. This was a game changer! Massive. Though in my country, maps rather the GPS enabled devices were underrated, free lifetime navigation was taken as a big deal, and it became one of Nokia’s strongest selling point. And guess what? It was indeed a big deal. More and more people started using maps to get directional assist.
C’mon who would have wanted to carry those bulky navigation only devices? Even if they did, who would have loved to pay for them? Nokia knew the market better than anyone else, they came up with some fantastic phones which came shipped with this service and lot more. Another astounding feature that one would always want to have on his phone was, using maps in Offline mode. The infamous Google maps doesn’t work in offline mode, it just doesn’t work without internet access. I was at a place where there was completely no sign boards or whatsoever, totally been to many such remote places where I had no network access. And not to kid, maps worked perfectly. I was able to navigate to places after loading my country’s map data. Kudos to Nokia and the lovely folks at Nokia Beta Labs. Whose contribution was huge. They just went on rocking Nokia maps, which was later re-branded as Ovi Maps with so many lovely ad-ons and improvements. The experience was simply outstanding. They’ve never stopped improving Ovi Maps after that.
I’ve had some wonderful memories with the X6, which came as a complete navigation package i.e. car Holder, car charger. And what an experience it was. Hands down the best navigation device that I’ve ever used. You got to love it when that female voice in your device helps you navigate places. Yeh, somewhat right.
Later was released a feature where handset owners were able to use their own voice or their loved ones voice to get navigational assist, anytime, anywhere, which is exactly what convergence is all about. Right?!
The newer version of Ovi maps today has so many integrated services like Share location on Facebook, Weather, Events and happening, Lonely Planet, Burrp and Here & Now services which provide information about your location and surrounding places, while they require network access as you know. Still, wow!
Nokia has made things simple. They have wide range of phones and you may buy a $100 phone and you can simply enjoy most of the OVI services. Is there someone to challenge them? NO. Can someone provide better solutions at such competitive price? NO. This is massive.
But more or less, though such fantabulous apps are made, it’s the overall experience which makes one decide what they want. But for the unified Map experience what they offer with no compromises and value for money sets Nokia to stay on top of the table.
Future sounds to be better as they have found a new love for OS, the Windows Phone 7. So, integrating Microsoft’s services with that of Nokia’s, promises a brighter and a steady start for new age of convergence.