Another update to the v3.06 Ovi Maps beta has been released by, and although it features a few new features, the key one must be that it’s now (finally) possible to download whole countries directly on your phone (although you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection). However, this isn’t perfect, when I tried it, it kept given a “Map download failed” error after about 187Mb through the 216Mb UK download, which resulted in me having to use the PC after all. When you first install the v3.06 beta, it will wipe your existing maps, as it needs a v3.06+ specific map data downloaded. Once you have done this one though, subsequent betas (and hopefully the final released version) will be able to use the maps already downloaded.
Having the facility to download directly on the phone, plus having a “check for map updates” option on the phone itself is very useful, and a good move (and something a lot of people have been asking Nokia for).
The other features of this beta include:
- New! Download street maps directly to your device! A new feature called “Update” on the main menu which allows you download Street Maps directly (via WiFi) to your phone without a PC! Please note that phones without WiFi (e.g. ) will not work.
- New! My Position and Search are now integrated (now called Map). When accessed, it will show your last map view
- New! Back button in Favourites
- New! Long tap functionality to delete & rename collections & routes
- New! Pop up for first time use – to inform user to download new map data (when upgrading 3.04 > 3.06 for the first time)
- New! Improved behaviours of transit lines settings in map toolbox (no more grey out)
- New! Compass calibration hint
- New! Refreshed place details information view
- Pinch to zoom interaction (Only available on Symbian^3 devices)
- Visually refreshed main menu and icons,
- New maps with public transport lines (as a new map layer) for subways, trams and trains in 80+ cities around the world. Just click the map toolbox icon and select Transit lines,
- Improved search experience – find places and addresses around you – or anywhere in the world – fast and easily. Browse places or enter a keyword in the search box. Now with suggestions and “did you mean?” functionality,
- New place pages with description, reviews, pictures and places nearby. Interact with places in a whole new way – you can check in, contact, navigate, save, rate, share, report or see place on the map,
- Share a place – send a place to your friends via SMS or Email. The SMS contains the address and a link to the place page with description, ratings, contact, URL and a mini map. The link opens up on the mobile browser (also on non-Nokia devices),
- Check in – keep your friends up-to-date with where you are and what you’re up to. Check in to places and share it with your friends on Facebook and many more social networks. See places you’ve been to in your check in history,
- New Drive assistance mode with live traffic flow – after clicking Drive, you’re instantly in drive assistance mode with live traffic flow and more. Once you start moving, get safety camera alerts and speed limit warnings,
- More folder with many rich content services relevant to your location. Personalise your Ovi Maps by selecting the services you’d like to keep on your main menu for instant access.
- Traffic flow: In Drive mode, a number of improvements to the traffic flow colour scheme and layout.
(The items marked New! are new in this update; the others were available in earlier v3.06 beta versions)
I like the new facilities, and the way the menus are being rearranged, and this bodes well for the final release. One word of warning; one of the known issues is that occasionally it will keep the GPS subsystem open (with the eventual battery drain); when I’ve seen this, I’ve found starting Ovi Maps back up and shutting it down again seems to have fixed, but it’s something to watch out for. I also really like hitting the Drive option and being able to see my location on the map with traffic updates immediately available even without a destination set; this is another key feature for me, as I often want to use my phone’s SatNav simply for traffic without a route calculated.
Although the Share (location) option now supports a whole range of social networking sites, I would still love to see sites such as BrightKite and FourSquare integrated directly into the interface, but hopefully that will come in time.