By Sarah Falson

FINLAND: Finnish mobile-phone manufacturer, Nokia, has partnered with Dutch GPS hardware company, TomTom, to become the latest consumer electronics company to enter the rapidly-expanding car navigation market in Europe.

The Nokia 330 Auto Navigation device is a suction-mounted unit with in-built Europe-wide map data from Dutch navigation firm, Route 66, and uses digital maps from US-based NAVTEQ, rather than its main Dutch rival, Tele Atlas. last month reported that the partnership will see Trimble Navigation, which supplies Global Positioning System (GPS) technology for European machinery, supply its Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) patents to Nokia. 

Nokia Australia wouldn’t confirm if the Nokia 330 uses the same technology from Finnish company, Trimble Navigation, who discovered last month would be used in up-coming Nokia GPS systems.

However, Nokia Australia communications manager, Louise Ingram, did confirm to that Nokia 300 would not be entering the Australian in-car navigation market.

Of the Nokia 330, Ingram said: “Nokia Australia has no plans to bring this product into this market.”

In 2007, Nokia will roll-out the N95 multimedia computer for the Australian market – a sub-$1,500 mobile phone that includes all the advanced features of a full-blown portable in-car GPS unit, in a slim, mobile phone form factor.

Announced last month, the Nokia N95 will be available in mid 2007 and will include Bluetooth and GPS capabilities, along with MP3 capabilities, built-in stereo speakers, internet browsing and a high-quality camera.

PC-like features, such as a floating toolbar and password manager system will make using the N95 as close as possible to using a full-blown PC, Nokia reported last month.

Nokia has been increasingly blurring retail lines in the past month, beginning in August when it announced it would trial its line of camera phones – the N93 and N73 – through Camera House stores in Victoria, and most recently when Nokia director of sales and APAC multimedia computer, David Watkins, told that the N95 multimedia computer could enjoy a retail niche of its own, perhaps in computer, camera, music or hiking/adventure stores.