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SINGAPORE – One feature of the new S40 phones launched today that deserves extra attention is the provision of free Nokia Maps, allowing a much wider range of people to make use of the service, without incurring heavy data charges. This new service offers a significant boost to the capabilities of Series 40 phones, further blurring the lines between smartphones and feature phones. Read on for the details.

Maps will come preinstalled on the Nokia C2-03 and its variants, out-of-the-box, including maps data for the user’s region. The user doesn’t need to download any further data to get started.

Maps for Series 40 doesn’t rely on a GPS device in the phone, either, but rather triangulates the user’s position from cell tower locations. This, together with smart routing software, means that Nokia Maps can still provide turn-by-turn directions for drivers. This, together with smart pedestrian routing, means that Nokia Maps can still provide visual directions.

UPDATE: Apologies for our error – Maps for Series 40 does NOT provide turn-by-turn directions.

Viewing maps and planning routes can be done entirely offline. Online features such as finding your location – or advanced search – can be done with minimum data usage – less than 10KB. If users want to share their location, they can do so for the cost of an affordable SMS message.

Additional maps can be loaded onto a memory card, allowing for the added capability when users go abroad. Nokia Maps are currently available for over 100 countries. In Singapore, for example, there is 100% street coverage and quarter of a million points of interest included.

Let us know what you think in the comments.