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Nokia: Google a 'new kid' in GPS, NFC on US Windows Phones

updated 09:05 am EDT, Fri November 4, 2011

We talk to Nokia's location head on Google, more

Google may have trouble competing with Nokia Drive once it rolls out to the broader market, Nokia's Executive VP of Location and Commerce, Michael Halbherr, told Electronista in an interview late Thursday. Despite Google Maps Navigation being a staple of Android, Google was a "new kid on the block." Nokia had the best map data and navigation in 90 countries, and automakers like BMW were relying on Nokia's platform.

"At the end of the day, we're the absolute world market leader when it comes to navigation," Halbherr said.

Nokia has faced a sharp slide in market share as Android has gained a foothold, but Google's full features usually go to North America and Europe where other countries are sometimes left out. Nokia has been touting its ability to cater to very local needs.

The executive also elaborated on Nokia's plans for NFC. American Windows Phones would be "equally supported" with NFC when they come to the US, he said. One of the first phones unofficially expected to come to the US, the Lumia 710, won't have NFC, but Nokia has already said that much of the US launch would involve new models.

As for using NFC services in the country, Halbherr saw Nokia taking a more conservative approach. It had to be "accommodating and open" to systems like the upcoming Isis and be compatible, he said, but it wasn't committing at this stage. It was "not clever" to make particular choices for services, he said.

It was implied Nokia might prefer to have more control over how any tap-to-pay NFC payments worked. You had to add value to the system to extract value from it, he told us. While not a definitive plan, he suggested Nokia might want to have its own virtual wallet system, although he didn't say it would be exclusive.

Regardless of the commercial uses of NFC, the short-range wireless will still be useful in the US for peripherals and other everyday uses. Nokia's Play 360 speaker and some of its Bluetooth headsets already pair automatically with its NFC-equipped smartphones, such as the N9. Halbherr mentioned that it could also be used for swapping data between two phones, such as photos. He didn't make any commitments to a parallel to Beam in Android 4.0.

By Electronista Staff


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