Saturday, March 31, 2012

Will Facebook intergration and navigation make Nokia and HTC Windows Phone a hit in the Philippines?

The killer feature of Windows Phone 7.5 for the Philippines is the best Facebook integration of any mobile operating system. The killer application which Nokia phones have is Nokia Drive, Nokia's free navigation app provides offline turn-by-turn Navigation. Google Maps on Android and Apple iPhones provide online voice guided turn by turn navigation in many countries, the Philippines is not one of them. In the Philippines Google Maps does provide turn by turn navigation but it not voice guided. This makes it useful enough for planning route before starting a trip, but unless you have a co-pilot in the car, it is awkward, and even dangerous to use once driving. 

HTC in a move to match Nokia's offering HTC is now offering offline voice guided turn by turn navigation through it free Locations app. The HTC Locations app uses TomTom maps. Fortunately, TomTom maps covers the Philippines. 

While the top of the line Windows Phones hardware cannot match the latest Android phones in terms of hardware and are still far behind the Android and the iPhone in term of the  app ecosystem, this does give it a killer feature which Android and iPhones do not provide unless you are willing to spend a few thousand pesos Navigation software. 

The question is, will having the best Facebook integration and the best free Navigation services for the Philippines make Nokia and HTC Windows Phones a hit in the Philippines?

Update. While the HTC Locations app is free and works well for navigation, the Philippine map is only free for one month. After that you have to pay for it at US$5 a month, US$20 a year or US$30 for unlimited use. Also the database of establishments appears to be outdated and displays only a few establishment. I have to thank the Windows Phone users group at TipidCP for the feedback.

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