were in trouble when Google announced its free Navigation service... wait until investors hear Nokia's news. Reuters is reporting that Nokia will offer free navigation on its smartphones. However, instead of just the US (the current Google limitation sans hacking), Nokia will be demonstrating its reach by offering free turn-by-turn directions in 74 countries and 46 languages -- a move that should cover 20 million smartphones globally with Ovi Maps available in over 180 countries. Damn.
Update: The original San Francisco Chronicle report has been pulled but Google cache caught a bit more saying that Nokia's navigation service is "capable of operating completely offline" unlike Google Navigation which requires data connectivity.
Update 2: Nokia just made the download link live. Hey, where's the N97 and N900 love?
Update 3: And it's official. Starting today, Ovi Maps walk and drive navigation is free across the globe. Drivers receive turn-by-turn voice guidance including lane assistance, traffic information (in 10 countries including the US), and safety camera and speed warnings while pedestrians will be guided on shortcuts through parks and pedestrian-only zones in over 100 cities across the globe. It all works offline too, which should extend battery life and keep that navigation humming even while puttering about in data dead zones without racking up international roaming charges (take that, Google). From March 2010, all new Nokia GPS-enabled smartphones will come installed with the new Ovi Maps application and pre-loaded with local country map data and walk and drive navigation with access to location-aware Lonely Planet and Michelin travel guides at no extra cost. Additional premium guides like a weather service and events / movies are also included. Just 10 devices from Nokia's massive catalog are available today -- a list that includes the N97 Mini, 5800 XpressMusic, 5800 navigation edition, E52, E55, E72, 5230, 6710 navigator, 6730 classic and X6.
So what's missing? The N97 and N900 of course. Find out why after the break.