Vodafone enters the sat-nav arena

Vodafone has confirmed that its offer to buy out Swedish sat-nav specialist Wayfinder Systems has been accepted, putting it on the battleground with sat-nav giants like Nokia and Google.


According to Mobile Entertainment, the operator offered 239 million Swedish kroner for Wayfinder, which raises its previous 16.4% stake to approximately 98.1%. The deal will officially go through this Friday.


Mobile navigation has become an important service, and Vodafone has said they believe having the expertise and tech in-house will allow them to offer more choice and tighter service integration.


Support for navigation is the foundation for all those cool location-based apps like LifeAware where your phone lets you know when your friends are in the area, or simpler ones like geo-tagging your photos.


So how does Wayfinder trump Google Maps Mobile (which is free, mind you)? With turn-by-turn directions, millions of points of interest, and the ability to share your route with friends online, which we suppose is useful if you're going on a road trip with a multi-car convoy.


Wayfinder runs on any Symbian-powered mobile, and can be downloaded for a fee, though it has also been coming preloaded on pretty much any of the recent Nokia and Sony Ericsson smartphones.


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