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Nokia Beefs Up Map, Messaging Services

At Nokia World on Tuesday, the cell phone manufacturer announced upgrades to its maps and messaging services.

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) Maps, the company's mobile mapping and navigation service, has been integrated more with the online Ovi service. It now enables users to preplan trips on a desktop computer and synchronize with their cell phones.

Nokia is adding high-resolution aerial images, 3-D landmarks, and instant access to some traffic information and event guides. Pedestrian navigation also has been improved. The company said the higher map quality is because of its $8.1 billion acquisition of Navteq.

"Nokia has clearly increased the usability of Maps, and now with the integration of Ovi services, the functionality of this service can also be seen," said Michael Halbherr, VP of Nokia's location-based experiences, in a statement. "Enabling Nokia Maps the ability to synchronize my favorite places between my mobile and PC becomes the main reason for anyone to switch from other personal navigation devices to Nokia Maps."

With the launch of Nokia Messaging, the company is beefing up the messaging capabilities of its most popular handsets. The service will push e-mail from Web-based providers, like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, and Windows Live Hotmail, and ISP-based accounts to the majority of Nokia devices. Once the application is installed, the company said, setting up accounts will only require users to enter their e-mail addresses and passwords.

Users of the service also will get instant messaging from the major providers on their handsets. The service will launch commercially in the first quarter of 2009 in select countries, and then roll out to other countries throughout the year. The push e-mail service can be downloaded for free right now on S60 devices like the E71 and N95 at email.nokia.com.

Nokia also announced Mail on Ovi, which will give users free access to Ovi e-mail accounts and other Ovi services with one sign-on. A beta version will roll out in December in 12 languages, and a Web access version will launch in February.

— Marin Perez, InformationWeek

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