Nokia has released new versions of its mapping and navigation service along with a new messaging service in an effort to build out its mobile services.
The upgraded Nokia Maps offers new features, such as high-resolution aerial images and 3D landmarks. The new software also allows users to share their location using GPS. Nokia has also tied the latest version of Nokia Maps more closely with its PC-based service Ovi. And the new Nokia Maps allows users to plan their journey ahead of time on their PCs and sync the information with their mobile phones for when they're on the road. Currently, the pre-planning function is only available for Windows-based devices.
Some of the other new features available include: the ability to purchase turn-by-turn car navigation guidance; instant access to real-time information about traffic in certain countries; access to Wcities, an event guide that gives real-time information for events and movies in some 450 destinations; and the ability to see multiple entrances to the same underground subway stations in certain cities.
Nokia also announced it is upgrading its Nokia Messaging client so that it integrates e-mail and instant messaging from Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Hotmail, Gmail, Google Talk, AOL Mail, and thousands of international ISPs. The service is also integrated with Ovi and gives users 1 gigabyte worth of storage. It also provides a single sign-in on their cell phones. The beta version will be available this month in 12 languages.
All these service announcements come at the same time that Nokia has launched its latest device, the N97. This new phone, which is part of the company's high-end N series of multimedia computers, comes with a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard and a tilting 3.5-inch touch screen.
The smartphone, which is set to launch next spring, comes with a bunch of bells and whistles in addition to supporting the new mapping and messaging services. For example, it provides easy access to a number of social-networking sites, and the Web browser supports streaming Flash videos. The N97 also introduces something Nokia calls "social location," which uses the capabilities of the integrated A-GPS sensors and electronic compass to automatically update users' social networks, or let them share their location via photos or videos with friends.