Nokia adds 3D navigation and Google Maps rival

Nokia continues to push navigation on mobile phones at its World 08 conference.

Nokia continues to push navigation on mobile phones, announcing Tuesday at its World 08 conference in Barcelona a version of its Maps software as well as Maps on Ovi, which will compete with Google Maps.

Version 3.0 of Maps adds support for high-resolution aerial images, 3D landmarks for more than 200 cities and terrain maps. New options for Nokia Maps also include, for example, real time traffic information.

The pedestrian navigation has been improved by adding what Nokia calls straight-line guidance, which shows how to walk the shortest distance between two points. The level of detail in the maps has increased to the point that users can view multiple entrances to the same subway station, according to Nokia.

Users who can't wait until the first quarter next year, when the software ships, can download a beta version from Nokia's Web page. Phones that support the beta include the N series and E series devices, according to Kari Tuutti, vice president of communications at Nokia.

Nokia has also launched Maps on Ovi, which is a Web based mapping tool that will go head-to-head with, for example, Google Maps.

What will set it apart is integration with navigation on mobile phones. Users will be able to plan their journey at home on their PC and then synchronize the route with their mobile, so there will be no need to print out maps anymore, according to Tuutti.

Maps on Ovi is also available in a beta version, and Nokia will continue to add more features during next year, but it has not been decided when it will exit the testing phase, according to Tuutti.

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