Bloomberg News

Nokia Mixes Maps on Apps in Bid to Differentiate Windows Phone

October 26, 2011

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Nokia Oyj unveiled a suite of applications that integrate its maps database with data on buildings, buses, people and other objects, in a bid to differentiate its new Windows Phone handset from rivals.

The LiveView application attaches names, links and other tags to objects seen through a handset’s camera viewfinder, while the Pulse application lets users share their map location and status with selected contacts, the company said today. Other applications give public transportation and walking directions for more than 400 cities, and share user-created information on outdoor locations.

Nokia today introduced the Nokia Lumia 800, its first handset powered by Microsoft Corp. Windows Phone software. The cooperation with Microsoft may be Nokia’s last chance to claw back share in the fast expanding smartphone market after the Espoo, Finland based company lost more than 60 billion euros ($84 billion) in market value since Apple Inc. introduced the iPhone in 2007.

Nokia bought Chicago-based digital mapmaker Navteq in 2008 for $8.1 billion. It continued Navteq’s business of supplying electronic maps for drivers to find addresses, continued enriching the database with 3D views, and added free navigation to handsets. This year, the unit was integrated with other services to form a new Location and Commerce business unit, headed by Michael Halbherr.

The Real World

“This takes the use case for maps from sporadic driving to places you don’t know to being in continuous contact with the real world -- when’s the next subway train, where can I meet my friends, what’s going to happen around the corner,” Halbherr said in an interview. “We capture way more time from the consumer than we did in the past.”

The new services also make use of other Nokia acquisitions such as Plazes AG, Metacarta Inc. and Bit-Side GmbH, which allowed Nokia to add social networking software, integrated maps with searchable databases and software for panoramic images.

The former Navteq unit supplies maps to Yahoo! Inc., Tencent Holdings Ltd., Yelp Inc., Foursquare Labs Inc. and Garmin Ltd. among others.

Nokia today also presented four new handsets on its low-end Series 40 platform, and said it has improved the range of applications for these phones, with Rovio Entertainment Oy’s “Angry Birds” game now available for touchscreen models.

The Nokia Asha 200, the company’s first Qwerty dual-SIM model, has a suggested base price of 60 euros and will ship this quarter. The Nokia Asha 300, also priced at 60 euros, is a touch-and-type handset with a traditional phone keypad and is already shipping in Nigeria, Cambodia and Singapore, the company said.

The Nokia Asha 303 is a Qwerty touchscreen that will have a base price of 115 euros and ship this week. It’s the successor to the C3, whose most popular variant has sold 20 million units globally in 15 months.

--Editors: Simon Thiel, Robert Valpuesta.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong in Berlin at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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