Tired of lugging a big travel book on vacation? Some Nokia phone users won't have to. They'll be able to download Lonely Planet travel guides directly onto their mobile handsets.
On Tuesday Nokia announced a deal with the travel book publisher Lonely Planet to sell maps and city guides to Nokia Maps 2.0 users. The service will initially allow users to download information for more than 100 cities, with more destinations to be added.
Each download, which costs 7.99 euros, or about $11.75, provides maps with directions and some background on important sites.
Nokia first announced city guides for Nokia Maps users in February when it upgraded the maps service and launched new phones that take advantage of the service. When the service first launched it included city guides from other travel publishers, such as Berlitz. But now Nokia is expanding the guides and has included Lonely Planet, whose travel guides were initially geared toward low-budget travelers and backpackers.
The city guide downloads are available in the Extras menu on select Nokia phones. The maps used in the Nokia Maps 2.0 service are provided by Navteq, which Nokia bought earlier this year, and TeleAtlas.
The Lonely Planet guides can be downloaded over the air to some Nokia phones or onto a PC.
Nokia, which is already the global leader in cell phone sales, has been trying to develop a service business. Through its Ovi platform it's developed Nokia-branded services offering music, gaming, and social networking for its cell phones and smartphones.
Navigation and location-based services are an important part of this strategy as it tries to make itself into a service and content company. In February, Nokia launched the new 6210 Navigator phone, which has an internal compass, as one of the premier phones using the Maps 2.0 service. And its $8.1 billion acquisition of Navteq, announced last October, was also a big step forward. The company also recently acquired Plazes, which allows cell phone users to use different navigation tools, such as GPS, to geotag or link to various points of interest within a social-networking context.