Nokia Purchases MetaCarta for Location Services Boost
Nokia purchases MetaCarta, a Massachusetts firm whose "geographic intelligence solutions" are expected to give it a boost in the location-based marketplace where it now competes with Google. Both Google and Nokia offer free navigation services on smartphones.Nokia announced April 9 that it has acquired MetaCarta, though it offered few other details and shared nothing of the purchase price.
Based in Cambridge, Mass., MetaCarta has just over 30 employees, Nokia said in a statement, as well as "expertise in geographic intelligence solutions."
Nokia added: "MetaCarta's technology will be used in the area of local search in Location and other services."
In January, Nokia announced that it will be offering a new version of its Ovi Maps application, which will deliver free walking and driving navigation services to users of GPS-enabled Nokia smartphones.
The rollout began as a free download for 10 popular Nokia smartphones, and will arrive preinstalled on new Nokia models. The app includes turn-by-turn voice guidance in 74 countries and 46 languages, and offers detailed maps for use in more than 180 countries.
"Nokia is doing a good job of leveraging their considerable investment in Navteq, in order to create a navigation experience for the phone that's comparable to many of the dedicated GPS devices," Crawford del Prete, an analyst with IDC, told eWEEK at the time of Nokia's Jan. 21 announcement.
Nokia's acquisition of MetaCarta, likewise, is expected to help it compete more aggressively against dedicated GPS offerings from TomTom and Garmin, as well as services from Google.
On Oct. 28, Google launched a beta version of Google Maps Navigation that offers free GPS navigation with voice guidance on handsets, such as the Motorola Droid, that run the Android 2.0 operating system.
Research firm Gartner has forecast that by 2011, GPS will ship on 75 percent of the mobile devices shipping to "mature markets," such as Western Europe and Japan.