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Map navigation has become an integral part of a smartphone user’s daily usage. Data from comScore Inc showed that more than one third of users from five Western European markets surveyed accessed maps via their smartphones.

Apple Inc replaced Google Map with its own Apple Maps on its iOS6, which is preloaded on the newly launched iPhone 5. Globally, there has been feedback of how poorly Apple Maps fared against Google Map and Nokia Map, which are from competing software platforms.

Nokia Inc has been quick to showcase its Nokia Map and Nokia Drive capabilities and carries a comparison of the map features found on the three competing platforms on its company’s blog. Nokia’s key advantages are mainly its broad coverage spanning more than 110 countries and offline navigation capabilities. With mobile subscriptions in emerging markets like Nigeria exploding and mobile data yet to gain substantial traction, offline navigation is a must-have in these markets.

Critically, the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft is making its way into Windows OS, with Nokia Drive (which offers turn-by-turn navigation and full offline support) available on all Windows 8 devices. More often than not, a lot of features and functions are typically launched only for the US and other developed markets only. For example, turn-by-turn instructions on iPhone 5 are available currently in 44 countries, with 9 more to be added in October 2012. Nokia Drive, on the other hand, is available in more than 110 countries.

While maps capability is not the only purchase criteria for users in both developed and emerging markets, the notion that the maps are customised locally do make consumers in emerging markets feel important. Sales of smartphones is expected to exceed features phones in 2013, with two third of the sales generated from emerging markets. Manufacturers cannot afford to ignore consumers in emerging markets anymore.

The Nokia brand is still perceived favourably as the Finnish company had invested heavily in understanding the consumers’ needs in emerging markets since the early 2000s. With Nokia leading the Windows OS bandwagon, smartphones running on Windows is expected to garner strong sales in the coming years, especially in markets like Brazil and Russia.

Smartphones by OS 2013


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Source: Euromonitor International

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