Our announcement on June 20th, that we are making Nokia Drive available on other, non-Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices generated some interesting feedback that deserves a response.
Turn-by-turn navigation is becoming a standard features on smartphones
We have believed in navigation on smartphones for several years, from when we first acquired Gate5 and then NAVTEQ. Back then everyone was assuming that the PND (personal navigation device) was the device of choice for navigation and that navigation services wouldn’t be relevant in a smartphone. This is why we were the first to introduce a PND-like navigation offering and the first smartphone with GPS on the market.
Now, opinion is very different. Smartphones create a much more fluid location-based experience because they are always with us: in-car, when we walk around, when we are at a restaurant or at home.At the same time navigation is a feature we expect to find in every smartphone. Think about it: would you ever buy a smartphone that doesn’t play music? The same rule is very quickly being applied to navigation too.
Not surprisingly, across all the different app stores in the market, navigation apps are always among the most downloaded. Because location based services are now more than ever at the core of our business, we are going to license Nokia Drive, the best navigation solution on the market, to all Windows Phone 8 devices.
Nokia Drive might not be exclusive to Nokia smartphones anymore but that doesn’t mean that we can’t differentiate with apps anymore. How can we still do it? First of all, navigation on Windows Phone 8 will be always exclusively provided by Nokia. Then by having the very closest, deepest integration possible. So watch this space for more apps and upgrades that become a seamless aspect of the overall Nokia Lumia experience.
But there is more to it than this. In fact, this is an area that creates a lot of confusion when people don’t distinguish between apps and platform. The Nokia Location Platform (often referred to by us as the Where Platform) provides a set of APIs that let organisations develop map-related apps and services. This platform provides the ability for people to get from A to B, decide their best mode of transport, avoid delays and get the most out of their local environments, wherever they are.
The location platform business
The location business can be explained in terms of ingredients and recipes. The map and all the info it contains are the ingredients. The location platform is a set of basic-to-advanced recipes to cook those ingredients. And the apps are dishes ready to eat.
If you are hungry, you go to a deli or to a restaurant and you eat what you feel like at that moment. You want some sushi? You go to a Japanese restaurant. That’s a bit like being on foot and deciding to use Nokia Transport to get somewhere. Customisation in these cases is limited: you know how to order or how to operate the app, but everything is constrained by the programmed user experience.
If you are a cook, with more or less expertise, however, you can buy ingredients and follow recipes to create your own dish. Even more tailored to your need. It requires some effort, but you can decide on the taste, size and appearance of the final product. The same happens if you are a big or small developer and you want to use our location platform and content to build your own location-based experiences.
Perhaps you can now see that the location business is not only about apps (final products) but also, and most importantly, about the platform (ingredients and recipes).
The ‘where’-enabled Windows Phone 8 ecosystem
By opening the location platform to the whole Windows Phone 8 ecosystem, we are differentiating Nokia as a company because we are the company most able to cover the location business on all levels. And we are promoting innovation because all Windows Phone 8 developers and manufacturers can build location-based experiences on top of our platform. As we’ve said before, success in the mobile sector today is all about platforms and ecosystems. In the case of location platforms, this is more accurate than ever, because all smartphones are nowadays equipped with GPS.