Nokia Offers Standalone GPS Navigation Device

Nokia is the leading maker of cellphones, and we've recently seen an increasing number of cellphones that double as turn-by-turn navigation devices. But dedicated navigation devices still provide a better user experience on the dashboard of a car, because they can have faster processors, more power consumption, more storage, bigger screens, and are designed to the difficult task of Navigation. Formerly the domain of very specialized GPS equipment makers and high-demand customers in logistics, shipping, and aviation, the component technology (touchscreen, GPS chip, processor, etc.) has dropped to prices many can afford. As a result, the usual cadre of consumer electronics manufacturers are getting into the sector, for example Sony, and now, phone maker Nokia has entered the standalone "SatNav" market with the Nokia 330, which does NOT incorporate a cellphone. With the 330, Nokia lines up against a new roster of competitors: TomTom, Garmin, and Magellan (among others). With recent prices dropping below $500, after-market devices are posing a serious threat to OEM SatNav, sold by auto manufacturers at a cost of around $2,000 per car. While built-in models have bigger screens, dash-top units can be moved from car to car easily, taken on a trip with a rental car, used in a friend's vehicle, and even used on bicycles, foot, and motorbikes (as a rider, I was very happy to toss out folding maps for SatNav!) The Nokia 330 also plays MP3s, shows JPEGs, and plays video files stored during cable-sync with a PC. This is just another step in Nokia's path to becoming a consumer electronics company instead of just a phone company - hopefully more successful than the N-Gage.

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