Nokia VP says it will be hard for Google to catch up with its free offline navigation app Drive
Nokia spent $8.1 billion to buy NAVTEQ at the end of 2007, and four years later we see the culmination of this acquisition leveraged in the Drive app that was available for Symbian^3 devices so far, but since Nokia World last week it appeared on its Lumia line of Windows Phones as well.
Nokia's head of Location and Commerce Michael Halbherr said in an interview that Google is a comparatively "new kid" when it comes to GPS, and its free Google Maps navigation software that comes bundled with Android has some catching up to do.
Yes, like free offline voice navigation in more than 90 countries, one might add. Nokia also keeps improving the app, adding live traffic and 3D maps in certain countries, buying Trapster, and offering user-generated information on millions of POIs.
Drive is a very strong differentiator for the Nokia Windows Phones, as it saves you anywhere between $30-$50 for a 3rd party navigation software that doesn't require Internet connection, and that's usually for one region only - when you travel you have to fork extra. Even better - Nokia is working with Microsoft to integrate its location and mapping services to the very core of Windows Phone, and only good things can come out of that.
He also had some comments on NFC usage in the US - apparently Nokia will try to collaborate with existing or upcoming mobile payment solutions like Google Wallet, or the carrier-backed Isis, but for now will leverage NFC in other scenarios, like MTA access in New York, for example. Have a look at our demo of Drive in NYC in the video below.