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NavTeq

NAVIGON USA, one of the more popular navigation apps, has made it to Windows Phone 8. NAVIGON Europe is still in the certification process and should be available for Windows Phone 8 soon.

The NAVIGON apps are feature rich navigation apps that includes user selected downloadable maps. This allows you to travel without depending on a data connection for your maps.

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As expected, Microsoft today announced Nokia Map Technology as the core navigation of Windows Phone 8.

Featuring offline support,  NAVTEQ map data, map control for developers to integrate into their apps and full turn by turn directions, Windows Phone 8 will finally have a top line navigation system for free use.

As we mentioned previously, this mapping technology will be hardware accelerated giving a great user experience. 

Developing...

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This should make some people excited. In Surrey, England Nokia's NAVTEQ car loaded with cameras and sensors on top, was spotted driving around, presumably mapping the terrain.

This is cool for two reasons: one, it says Bing on it, clearly showing the close partnership between Nokia and Microsoft and two, this looks like Nokia may be engaging in some type of NAVTEQ roadview, analogous to Google Street View. The car actually looks a lot like what Google uses to drive around photographing streets in a 360 degree panorama.

Going one step further, it reminds us of this Gizmodo story from 2010, where a similar vehicle had "a mount with seven cameras and 64 lasers to see everything better, in 3D" resulting in the ability to "...scan everything within view, capturing 1.2 million points of data every second. The result is all kinds of terrain data that is not possible using just cameras". Well, that sounds pretty awesome.

We know Nokia and Microsoft have big plans for NAVTEQ but this could mean some Google-level and beyond maps for Windows Phone in 2012. Sign us up!

Update: Yup, looks like it's part of Bing Streetside:

"Microsoft is partnering with NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of digital map, traffic and location data, to collect Streetside imagery. NAVTEQ will use their expertise in efficient data collection to staff and operate the collection vehicles and manage data logistics. Microsoft will apply industry-leading image processing and privacy protection techniques to create data products for both Bing Maps and NAVTEQ commercial customers."

Thanks to Yousuf K., who tipped us the photos using our app!

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GPSTuner, developers of Turn by Turn Navigation (see GPS showdown), a popular GPS navigation app on Windows Phone are set to bring a new update that will feature Navteq maps with offline capabilities. Not only will the app sport offline usage, but it will be competitively priced to keep GPS apps on the Marketplace within most budgets.

The developer states via Facebook that the app for Europe and the US should be updated this week in the Marketplace (Hungary is already available). Australia will happen when they get maps for Australia, evidently. We'll keep an eye out, of course. Good news though for those who don't want to drop a ton of cash on Navigon, especially our European friends.

Via: Plaffo, thanks for the tip!

Update:  We've learned that this new version of Turn by Turn Navigation will be a total on-board navigation app (maps are downloaded to your Windows Phone) much like NAVIGON.  The difference being that you can choose which maps you download. 

Not sure if we'll see Turn by Turn Southeast US or Turn by Turn England (as we are seeing with Turn by Turn Hungary) or if you select the maps to download as you need them.  Regardless, it sounds as if there will be a good bit of flexibility on the map selection that should result in better pricing points and less of a burden on your Windows Phone storage.

No word on the pricing but we do know there will be a trial version.  Expect the new Turn by Turn versions to hit the Marketplace any day and as Rich mentioned, we'll keep an eye out for the new versions and get reviews up as soon as we can.

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Nokia Purchases Navteq

Nokia is buying Navteq. Navteq is one of the big two digital mapmakers out there (the other is TeleNav, who was rumored to be in talks with TomTom). The moves actually does make a bit of sense for Nokia, who offers some GPS software of their own called smart2go that works on Windows Mobile.

Navteq powers the maps on Live Search, currently the best free GPS software available for Windows Mobile.

The purchase price is hefty, $8.1 billion, so it's pretty clear that Nokia is serious about using this stuff. That, plus the fact that Nokia already makes WM-compatible GPS software makes me a little nervous that Microsoft may have to start taking a closer look at Telenav. Long ago, Nokia bought my favorite instant messenger client for PalmOS and Windows Mobile, VeriChat, then killed it dead. Please don't repeat the past, Nokia. Please.

Nokia, the world’s largest cellphone maker, said it will acquire Navteq for $78 a share, which is only 3 cents above Navteq’s closing share price on Friday. But Navteq’s stock has risen sharply in recent weeks amid rumors that it was a takeover target.

Once rumor became reality, investors seemed a bit disappointed. Navteq’s shares fell about 1.7 percent in early trading Monday

Read: Nokia to Buy Navteq for 8.1 Billion

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Let me start by saying that I love TomTom on Windows Mobile - it seems to be the least-resource-intensive among the full featured GPS apps and that matters to me. So I'm inclined to be happy that they're planning on buying up the company that makes the maps they use - Tele Atlas. Supposedly TomTom will be able to gather data from its users to improve the maps. Sure, that's cool.

What's more interesting is that, really, there are two big players in the electronic mapping business these days - Tele Atlas and NavTeq. NavTeq makes the maps for Windows Live Search (swoon) and Notable Calls suspects they'll be snapped up soon as well. That would please me a bit, as it would mean that another mapping client like Google's or WLS's would get more full-featured, but it would also cause me some fear.

Why fear? Well TomTom's purchase is a good case study. They say that TeleAtlas will still be providing maps to other companies, but that decision is pretty much up to the whim of the TomTom management now. Given that TomTom still has the single most annoying GPS software activation process known to mankind, I don't have faith in their commitment to openness. Seems to me what we need is a full-featured, open source, wiki-style map. Hm. Maybe it's time to go contribute to OpenStreetMap, just in case.

Dutch navigation systems company TomTom plans to buy its main map supplier, Tele Atlas, for 1.8 billion euros ($2.5 billion), hoping tight integration of maps and products will give it an edge over competitors.

Read: NavTeq Should Move On Tele Atlas Buyout By TomTom - Seeking Alpha. Thanks to Mike for the tip.

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