Nokia to Share Mapping Technology

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Nokia Corporation (NOK), the struggling Finish handset manufacturer, is planning to share its mapping application with Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone and Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android-based phones. Sharing its map with these leading smartphone manufacturers will help Nokia to improve its popular mapping application, thereby making it much more competitive than other developers.

The company is set to launch a map application called ‘Here’, which will be available to the iPhone and iPad customers free of cost through Apple’s App store. Nokia will also release a toolkit for the developers to develop mapping application for Google’sAndroid-based smartphones.

Nokia’s ‘Here’ application includes features like voice-based walking navigation, public transportation directions and map editing which are currently unavailable at Apple’s mapping application. If Nokia succeeds to sell its mapping application, it will be a major win over Google as iPhone had been earlier using Goolge’s mapping technology.  

Nokia’s latest offering, Lumia 920 possess a unique mapping application called City Lens, which allows the users to point the camera at real world objects and visualize the data written on it through its large screen. Nokia’s mapping database has locational information of about 200 countries and is more popular than Apple’s new map system. 

Inspite of this new feature, Lumia 920 hasn’t fared well and still lags far behind Apple’s iPhone and other smartphone manufacturers that are using Google’s Android operating system. The research firm, IDC reports that Nokia’s smartphone market share stands at 4.3% as compared to Android’s 75% and Apple’s 14.9%.  

According to the company, sharing its mapping database with other smartphone manufacturers will not only increase its user base but will also help it get contribution from other developers; thus making it much more effective. Recently, the company has agreed to acquire 3D mapping service company Earthmine, which shows its intent to improve its reputation in the mapping space. We believe sharing will allow Nokia to monetize its mapping application, which in turn will provide the company a new revenue stream.

We maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on Nokia. Currently, the company retains a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold rating.

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