Nokia launched a service on Thursday which it said would cut the time a GPS-enabled cellphone takes to pinpoint its whereabouts, opening new opportunities for location-based online services.
Nokia hopes the service, available for users of its flagship N95 phones, will cut the startup time to one minute, from up to three minutes currently. The slowness has so far hampered takeup of cellphone navigation.
"By decreasing the time wasted while you wait for a first fix, we are increasing the enjoyment that Nokia Maps provides," says Ralph Eric Kunz, vice-president, multimedia experiences, Nokia. "Consumers now have the comfort of quick fix times which create a better navigation experience when using Nokia Maps."
Handset makers see GPS-based navigation as one of the next big value-adding offerings and even at this early stage.
While most assisted-GPS technologies use mobile carriers cellsites to find locations faster, Nokia's new service bypasses operator networks, using data from SIM card and new software which helps the phone to catch satellite signals.
Nokia's N95, with a 700-euro price tag, is not within reach of the wider market, but the Finnish firm aims to bring GPS chips to a wide array of its phones. All Nokia's GPS phones will have the new service.
Nokia hopes the service will boost prices of its phones in the longer term, and increase the appeal of mobile search services.