allaboutsymbian, free navigation, google, handsets, local area, map, mobile, money, Nav, navigation applications, nokia, ovi, pedestrians, phone, poi, Publications, rewrite, Sat
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Last week, the big news of the mobile tech world was that Nokia released free navigation on all of its handsets. This means that if you buy a Nokia phone from now on, you will automatically have Sat-Nav, for no extra cost, and the maps can be preloaded from your computer, saving you money on data charges.
Where did I come into this? Well, only two months ago, I’d written an article on AllAboutSymbian.com called “Battle of the Maps” where I compared Ovi Maps against Google Mobile Maps. Of course, with this ground-shifting change from Nokia ,that article became outdated, and a rewrite was called for to reflect the news.
Writing it the first time was a tricky proposition because there are too many variables to write such a piece fairly. I looked at what mapping & navigation applications do, and accordingly split my assessment into five areas, which, IMHO, was a reasonable thing to do. The complication comes with that for each potential type of user, none of those areas could be considered with equal importance, e.g. pedestrians vs drivers. So, I had to make a controversial decision, I gave them all equal importance. That way at least I’d equally displease everyone!
Thanks to the comments left on that article, I soon found the situation was even more complicated. It’s reasonable to say that I was limited to testing these areas only in my local area, and I have no need to travel very far, very often. Although we had reports from around the world at how the things I’d tested for were different from place to place.
The result of my original article was that Google Mobile Maps won with 3.5 points against Ovi Maps with 1.5 points, out of the five areas. With the introduction of free navigation in Ovi Maps, the score was swung to a draw in the rewritten article. This still displeased people, and I see why. My own experience has lead me to prefer Google Mobile Maps because it is just faster. Even the new Ovi Maps 3.3 is somewhat of a resource hog and is slow to load, but then perhaps that is just my phone (an E55). So, even now with all the new features, I’ll be reluctant to rely on Ovi Maps when I know that Google Maps will do what I need with much greater speed. I think Ovi Maps has one trick for pedestrian navigation that Google Maps doesn’t, and that is voice guidance. Even then though, if I’m in a noisy area, I’m not going to be able to hear it, and I don’t walk around with earphones or a hands-free kit.
But this is a complicated and fertile area for discussion and research, and I can think of a way to make a more comprehensive assessment of which is the best tool for which job. I’m not disclosing my exact idea though, as it’s not yet developed. Also, I’m not sure I can really do the research on my own.
So there you are, the new rewrite is listed on my publications page, and you can see it by clicking here.