smart2go Free Mobile Maps Service Competes with Tom-Tom

February 9, 2007

Today’s TechnNews article about Nokia’s smart2go brings up an interesting business model competing with GPS navigation devices such as Tom-Tom. Nokia’s German-based Gate5 smart2go is a free map service based on Symbian EPOC for Series 60, although probably we will see across other Nokia phones. smart2go offers free maps, which can be downloaded from a PC (I guess for planned usual routes) or over the air and bluetooth (for unplanned routes – oops, I am lost!) One can store map files to the phone’s MMC (obviously to its storage limit).

Whereas traditionally GPS navigation devices have charged upfront for the hardware device, and provided free mapping and navigation service, smart2go has no starting costs (if you already have a compatible device), and maps and local guides are free. Navigation services however are not free - smart2go offers daily, monthly or yearly subscriptions. I believe it is this flexibility in the subscription model what will make it interesting for a number of people that do not need to use a Tom-Tom every day.

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