Τρίτη, 4 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

Amazon to bring Nokia Maps to Android?

Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet is to use maps and positioning technology from Nokia rather than Google, according to Reuters sources. That would show the retailer distancing its implementation of Android even further from Google services, as well as highlighting the undersung potential of Nokia's location assets.

Nokia gained significant mapping technology with its $8.1bn acquisition of Navteq, and while that price tag may never be justified, it has recognized that this platform is one of its biggest advantages in a market where so many new services are based on positioning. The ailing Finnish firm has placed Navteq into its own business unit, and unsurprisingly, will provide the maps for its partner Microsoft in Windows Phone 8. A similar deal with Amazon would indicate how Nokia could build an autonomous business around Navteq, competing with Google Maps even in the Android sector - a business which could be saleable in future, a possible move some investors have highlighted already. Nokia is also building on the Navteq technology by taking the lead in other location areas, notably standards for use indoors, where GPS may not be reliable.
For Amazon, which has created a highly distinctive Android user interface and app store - both sidelining Google's own services from the Kindle experience - using Nokia Maps would be another step towards full independence, and towards creating an alternative Android platform to that of the search giant.

The new Kindle Fire, which should include the updated navigation functionality, is expected to debut on Thursday at an event in Santa Monica, California, along with a new Kindle Touch e-reader, but reportedly not the larger screened version of Fire which many had anticipated.

The Kindle Fire accounts for 22% of US tablet sales, according to Amazon, though it has not been launched in other territories. This is expected to happen with the new version, since the retailer last week opened up its AppStore for Android to users and developers in the UK and some other European markets.

According to Horace Dediu, an analyst with Asymco, Amazon has sold almost 5m Kindle Fires since the product made its debut late last year.

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