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Vodafone axes paid GPS following Nokia, Google apps

updated 03:50 pm EST, Fri March 12, 2010

Nokia Maps and Google Maps kill Wayfinder

Vodafone today said it has shut down Wayfinder, the company providing its subscription GPS service. The move has cost 90 jobs and is characterized as a direct reaction to the availability of free Ovi Maps on Nokia phones and, to a lesser degree, Google Maps Navigation on Android. The two render Wayfinder redundant as they offer the same or better turn-by-turn but without the monthly rate.

"We could not charge for something that others gave away for free," Vodafone UK spokeswoman Anna Cloke told Sweden's Sydsvenkan.

The carrier's cancellation of the service may trigger similar reactions elsewhere. Most North American carriers and some international carriers often offer similar subscription GPS navigation, often a rebranded version of TeleNav's own product. As many of these carriers should have Android 2.0 and later devices either now or in the near future, many of them face the prospect of customers just using an existing smartphone plan to provide the same navigation for free.

Nokia isn't believed to have a significant presence in US smartphones in the future, but Google has expressed a desire to offer Maps Navigation through the iPhone and could hurt the provider's TeleNav-run AT&T Navigator service if Apple's handsets get the feature as a free download. [via Engadget]

by MacNN Staff



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