Nokia is taking a leaf out of Google's book and creating a free navigation suite for owners of its GPS-enabled mobile phones, but there are many who fear that this will negatively impact on all manufacturers of standalone satellite navigation devices.
Nokia's head of marketing Anssi Vanjoki said that free navigation would "serve as a defence to [its] product prices" and it is believed that Nokia is counting on the new tools to form an important part of its attempt to recapture the smartphone market.
Google's own free navigation software has been around since the end of 2009, but limited to the American market and to owners of the Motorola Droid.
Around 20 million Nokia customers will be able to download the free navigation app when it arrives, which is likely to put pressure on manufacturers such as TomTom and Garmin as more and more people use their phones to get around.
Nokia's Michael Halbherr said that the gradual decline of the standalone navigation device was inevitable in the long run, as is was nothing more than a "function masquerading as an industry".
Nokia's announcement is so significant that TomTom's share prices fell by 13 per cent. Some have pointed out that smaller navigation firms will be in even deeper trouble as a result of the free navigation apps for mobile phones.
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