Nokia launched its latest version of Ovi Maps just over a week ago, and the bundled free navigation has already attracted over 1.4 million downloads.
Pegged as a game-changing move by analysts, the new Ovi Maps is equivalent to the services offered by standalone sat nav devices, but provided free to anyone using a supported Nokia handset.
'We're averaging a download a second, 24 hours a day,' said Anssi Vanjoki, executive VP, Nokia. 'The number of people now using their Nokia for navigation, and as a result looking for more location-aware software, is growing faster than even we predicted.'
While Ovi Maps has always been free, premium features such as voice navigation and live traffic information had to be paid for. The new version includes free walk/drive navigation, live traffic info, Lonely Planet city guides and Michelin travel guides, and compressed, downloadable maps to save on data charges.
Nokia also expects developers to submit location-based apps for Ovi Maps. 'There is a huge appetite for GPS navigation on mobile phones. We estimate there were already 25.9 million people actively using GPS navigation on their mobile phones at the end of 2009,' said Chris Jones, VP & Principal Analyst at research firm Canalys.
Vanjoki also said that there was an opportunity for operators to sell more data plans as more customers start to use their phones' navigation features.
The move is indicative of Nokia's desire to move into the location-based services sector, underlined by its announcement in December that it would be halving its smartphone production.
What smartphones it does launch in 2010 will come preloaded with the new Ovi Maps localised for their region, with full walk/drive navigation features and city guides. See the full list of supported Nokia devices here.