Let me try and join the dots.
.....Nokia N95 with GPS and 8GB of memory and a memory card slot..... Navteq's giant mapping databases.... Nokia developing its non-carrier channels to market.....
Look at TomTom or Garmin or maybe even Tracker: mobile location is mostly about standalone products. Services are mostly limited to incremental add-ons: updates, or critical realtime traffic info, plus a tiny and sexy but mostly non-revenue slice of geolocation-meets-social-networking mashups. Not only is downloading maps or directions OTA to a handset slow and expensive, it also consumes valuable power.
Bottom line: mapping on mobile doesn't need an operator or very much over-the-air location services. Maybe in the future as upsell, but not as a starting point. The pricing/performance curve on flash memory is much steeper than that for wireless broadband.
Interesting, this is totally different from things like Google Earth. For that, a Web 2.0-type model works fine. Mobility is less important, bandwidth is abundant always-on and essentially free, more granular data is becoming available continually and there are no power constraints.
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