02:49 PM

Nokia Launches Navigator Phone With GPS

Nokia also began offering a beta version of Nokia Maps 2.0, its mobile mapping software, through the Nokia Beta Labs Web site.

\Nokia last year promised to focus more on location-based services and to launch more devices with GPS capability this year. The world's No. 1 phone maker delivered on its promise on Monday with the launch of the new Nokia 6210 Navigator and the next version of its mapping software.

Nokia 6210 Navigator
(click image for larger view)

Nokia 6210 Navigator

The 6210 Navigator is Nokia's first GPS-enabled mobile device with an integrated compass for pedestrian guidance.

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Nokia began offering the beta version of Nokia Maps 2.0, its mobile mapping software, through the Nokia Beta Labs Web site. The new version comes with pedestrian navigation, multimedia city guides, satellite views, and an improved user interface. The pedestrian navigation component is called Walk, giving travelers visual turn-by-turn directions, location information, and descriptions of surroundings like buildings, streets, and parks. The software can be used in conjunction with a mobile phone's built-in compass -- to come in newer Nokia models -- that shows users the direction they're walking.

Nokia already offers a car-based navigation component as part of Nokia Maps, called Drive. Nokia Maps 2.0 requires a phone with GPS capability, or an external GPS module connected to a mobile device, to provide turn-by-turn visual and voice directions.

The company also said it will introduce a mass market version of Nokia Maps in the first half of this year for mobile devices based on the Series 40 platform.

Since acquiring digital map maker Navteq for $8.1 billion, Nokia has been busy developing new devices and software to compete with popular GPS system makers like Garmin, which recently launched its own personal navigator-phone hybrid.

In line with its push into personal navigation, Nokia this week introduced its first GPS-enabled mobile phone with an integrated compass and Nokia Maps 2.0. The phone also comes with a self-mount car kit for car navigation, assisted GPS for accessing satellite views, and local maps pre-loaded on the device's 1-GB memory card.

"By combining the integrated compass of the Nokia 6210 Navigator, with the speed and accuracy of assisted GPS, Nokia Maps 2.0 provides a unique experience with which other, less accurate, mobile navigation applications can't compete," said Michael Halbherr, VP of Nokia's location based services group, in a statement.

Other features include 3G support for high-speed Internet browsing, 3.2-megapixel camera, MP3 player, and FM radio. The 6210 Navigator is based on the S60 platform, which means users can take advantage of thousands of applications, according to Nokia.

Nokia will start shipping the 6210 Navigator in select markets in the third quarter of this year with a somewhat reasonable price of EUR 300 (about $435). Its multimedia phones, such as the N82 and the N95, cost a lot more.

Nokia didn't stop there. It also announced the 6220 classic, the N78, and the N96 -- all three phones come pre-loaded with the latest version of Nokia Maps. The announcements were made at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona.

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