Nokia Ovi Maps SR4 released: faster, WiFi positioning & Qype

Fifteen times around the world every day; that's the distance Nokia's Ovi Maps guides users every day, and with the quiet introduction of Ovi Maps SR4 (v3.0.4) that number is likely to get even bigger. The first significant update since Ovi Maps went free four months ago, Nokia have already passed the 10m download mark and, while they're not talking updated figures quite yet, are still apparently seeing a new download every second. Ovi Maps SR4 brings with it over 2m kilometres of newly navigable roads, boosts points of interest (POI) to over 25m and speeds up zooming and searching, not to mention slipping in Qype reviews and recommendations. We sat down with Marcel Duee, Places project manager on Nokia's Ovi Maps team, for an update on why SR4 is special and what's still in the pipeline.

Update: Video demo of Ovi Maps SR4 on a Nokia N8 after the cut!

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Nokia N8 hands-on

It's strange what you can come across while out and about in town; SlashGear bumped into a developer friend of ours today, and they just so happened to have a Nokia N8 burning a hole in their pocket.  With Symbian^3 still not ready for public consumption powered-on shots of the smartphone weren't allowed, and it's worth noting that this is still prototype hardware, but it's some of the most impressive pre-production hardware we've seen.

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Nokia Own Voice for Ovi Maps lets you tell yourself where to go

Hot on the heels of TomTom's new Star Wars voices for their PND range comes Nokia's alternative: the ability to record your own voice prompts for the Ovi Maps Navigation app available free for multiple Nokia handsets.  Fresh to the Ovi Store - as a free download, no less - Own Voice for Ovi Maps asks you to record 53 different speech prompts and then bundles them together into a custom voice pack.

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Alpine and Nokia partner on in-car Ovi Maps integration

Start telling people your smartphone PND app is just as good - or better - than what the dedicated sat-nav device manufacturers are producing, and eventually someone is going to call you on it.  Happily for Nokia, the people doing the calling are Alpine and what they're calling for is Ovi Maps integration - either via USB or Bluetooth - with their in-car head systems.  The partnership will pipe Nokia's voice-guidance prompts through Alpine speaker systems, and put on-screen graphics onto your in-dash LCD.

Skype for Symbian S60 slides into Nokia’s Ovi Store

The latest version of Skype's mobile VoIP app for Symbian S60 devices (aka Symbian^1) has been added to the Nokia Ovi Store, making free calls over WiFi or 3G a slightly easier possibility for the millions of handset owners out there.  In fact, there are over 200 million Nokia phones worldwide, and with the Skype app they'll be able to send SMS messages, share images and other files, use IM and of course make free or low-cost Skype calls.

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Nokia C5 confirmed; brings new naming scheme with it

Nokia have announced their latest "smartphone", the Nokia C5, and while the S60 3rd edition handset isn't exactly the most interesting in the company's range it does mark the introduction of a new naming convention for them.  The C5 has a 2.2-inch display, 3.2-megapixel camera, 3G, Ovi Maps (with free walk and drive directions) and Facebook integration with the address book, and will be the first of the C-series of devices.

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Nokia Ovi Maps Android/WinMo port rumor seems entirely unlikely [Update: yep, false]

Stand by for some confusion this Thursday morning, as a Nokia exec apparently confirms that Ovi Maps will be ported to Android or Windows Mobile.  The company launched the latest version of Ovi Maps - with free turn-by-turn navigation and other hitherto premium functionality - back in January, but Nokia's general manager for the Alps and South East Europe, Greig Williams, told Austrian paper Die Presse that porting the app "will be the next step."

Update: Apparently Williams was misquoted; more details after the cut.

Nokia Ovi maps for N97 released

Having surprised at least a few people (and no doubt upset TomTom and Garmin) last week by making Ovi Maps with turn-by-turn directions free for select S60 users, Nokia have now added N97 support.  The new version is available directly through the N97 itself, by navigating to the software update client in the applications folder; we'd recommend doing that over WiFi simply for the speed benefits.

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