Nokia adds location-based Groupon deals to Lumia smartphones
CHICAGO--Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is integrating Groupon daily deals into its Windows Phone-based Lumia device series, a move to expand the scope of its Nokia Maps platform beyond navigation assistance.
The Groupon Now application--currently limited to Lumia smartphones in the U.S.--presents local on-demand offers based on the consumer's present location. Users searching Nokia Maps will be shown relevant deals alongside traditional search results, with each offer marked with a green "G." All deals are accompanied by detailed product or service descriptions--selecting an offer will redirect the browser to the Groupon mobile site, and from there, users can rely on Nokia Maps data to guide them to the restaurant or merchant in question.
Nokia first announced plans to partner with Groupon in May. At that time, the firms said the Windows Phone app would be exclusive to Nokia Lumia devices for six months.
In addition to turn-by-turn directions, Nokia Maps services include voice navigation tools and multiple map views such as public transport and live traffic. Speaking during a media roundtable at Nokia's Chicago offices (the former headquarters of Navteq, the location services firm the handset maker acquired for $8.1 billion in late 2007), Nokia's Executive Vice President of Location and Commerce Michael Halbherr said Nokia will continue nurturing Nokia Maps beyond its signature services. "We believe every aspect of the mobile phone will be redefined using location," Halbherr said, citing photo sharing and messaging as core mobile user experiences that could benefit from deeper location integration.
Nokia believes location data will play an increasingly critical role in all mobile communications moving forward, and said the core Navteq assets--including turn-by-turn guidance information spanning 110 countries as well as integration into nine of ten in-car navigation services--put the company in a position to pose a legitimate challenge to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), the top dog in location-enabled mobile services.
"For location to be meaningful, you need a map and a map platform--either you go in and spend multiple years creating that asset, or you acquire that asset," Halbherr said. "Over the years we've built this asset, and that brings us into a very strong position. It's not something you can catch up to very quickly."
Halbherr said Nokia also will look to grow the Maps platform through horizontal partnerships, an effort typified by its collaboration with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): The software maker's forthcoming Windows Phone 8 operating system overhaul will install Nokia Maps as the default mapping experience. "Scale is critical to our growth," Halbherr said. "That's why the horizontal nature of the Windows Phone deal is critical."
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