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Five Improvements That Nokia Maps Needs…Badly

February 4, 2009 in Mobile Phone Software
Nokia Maps: Needs Improvement. And TTS.

Nokia Maps: Needs Improvement. And TTS.

Nokia Maps is undoubtedly one of the more useful S60 applications. But there’s a lot of room for improvement – Maps doesn’t stand a chance when pitted against even the most entry-level standalone GPS unit. And wihle it might not be fair to compare the two, if Nokia really wants to embrace the idea of convergence – having one device able to perform multiple functions well – it sure as hell better give consumers a reason for buying one device rather than a phone, gps, and media player.

So the following is a couple of things that I noticed when testing out the latest Nokia Maps’ functionality, along with the voice navigation. (final verdict: needs work)

Text-to-Speech: Holy cow, I honestly still cannot believe that Maps is missing this feature. There’s TTS for text messages and phone commands, but not for driving directions? While I do realize that this would require larger voice files, TTS is far too useful to be outweighed by mere storage limitations. I’d say forget about the rest of the improvements, and just add this one – then I and many others would be very happy.

Free Navigation: Please, just get rid of the monthly fee. A Drive & Walk navigation license for the USA costs $11.50 a month ($89.66 a year). Free navigation is a great selling point (not to mention getting the world one step closer to the idea of having a GPS-enabled phone). $11.50 a month navigation is not. Especially when you consider free alternatives such as Google Maps.

Better Route Calculations: Calculating the path from one point to another may be complex stuff, but certain GPS devices handle it far better than others. And Nokia Maps still has a long way to go in this department. I took the GPS navigation out for a spin earlier today and there were definitely some bugs in the system – for example, when I was heading out to a local mall, accessible by its own exit off a major highway, Maps suggested a make a right on some random side street right BEFORE the exit. That would’ve been fine if the Mall entrance ramp wasn’t on the map, but what do ya know – it was!

Another issue I have is that the app, at least in my area, loves to take me down the most roundabout routes, going through tons of little side streets. I find myself completely ignoring the GPS at times, simply because the directions I get from the Maps just aren’t the best way to get somewhere.

Switch Between Day and Night modes automatically: Day and night modes are great, but they’d be even better if Maps could switch between them automatically, based on the time of day. Sometimes it’s the little things that count!

Improve the Map Loader: How come you can’t view the maps you have stored on your device? The Map Loader couldn’t answer that question, but it had no problem deleting all the map data stored on my memory card. It would be a huge improvement to actually be able to remove maps you don’t need (but not all of them), when saving space is a priority. And if Nokia could add this functionality into Maps (download/delete), that would definitely be a plus.

This is not to say Nokia Maps is bad. It isn’t. It has some of the fastest lock-on times I’ve ever seen, and the points of interest are actually pretty spot-on.

***

Tags

Map Lover
2/4/2009
8:58 am

Can you tell me how I download Google’s map data into the device. I don’t want to keep downloading the map using my gprs/3G which costs $$$..

>Especially when you consider free alternatives such as Google >Maps.

Is it really free?

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