Nokia's Nearby app now giving feature phones location services

The application is now available in Nokia's Store

Nokia's Nearby location app has exited beta testing, and is now available in the phone maker's app store, as it continues to push location services across its range of phones.

Nearby is a free Web-based application for finding the nearest pub, coffee shop, ATM, transit station and more. Users can save and share places they like, and read reviews to see how others have rated them. Nearby is also integrated with the calling feature, allowing users to make reservations from within the app, according to Nokia.

The app has been developed for Nokia's advanced feature phones, including the Asha family, which is based on the Series 40 platform. Since Nearby is a Web-based app, users will also need the Nokia Xpress browser (version 2.0 or newer) installed on their phone for it to work.

Nearby is based on Nokia's Location Platform and uses the same database as maps.nokia.com and the upcoming Windows Phone 8-based Lumia 920.

Even though Nokia's Asha phones may not have a GPS receiver, Nearby is still able to find a phone's location using either Wi-Fi positioning or cell-site information from the operators. For example, the recently announced Asha 309 lacks GPS but supports Wi-Fi positioning, according to Nokia.

The Asha 309 along with the Asha 308 are Nokia's cheapest capacitive touchscreen phones to date. They will cost about US$99, excluding taxes and subsidies, when they start shipping this week.

Besides offering location-based services on its own phones and all smartphones based on Windows Phone 8, Nokia is also signing deals for the use of its Navteq mapping technology with as many companies as possible.

In the last month, Nokia has signed deals with car makers BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Korean Hyundai, as well as Oracle.

The third-party deals serve two purposes: to bring in more revenue to Nokia's Location & Commerce business and allow Nokia to develop better services thanks to growing user volumes, which the addition of low-end phones also brings.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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