Nokia E71 – Free Ovi Maps Forever!

Three months after Nokia decided to offer free voice navigation, the company has provided free navigation forever for the hugely popular E71. Apparently this was due to ‘user demand’ and this will (along with the E66) be the last of the S60 3rd Edition devices that will get this service.

I picked up on this announcement at All About Symbian, an immensely popular and useful Symbian news source. Almost immediately, I hooked up my E71 and opened my browser at the Nokia Maps website. True enough, the download now includes the E71 – you have to download a .SIS file to install, which updates your Maps application on the phone.

Once the .SIS file has been installed, you will need to delete all existing map data – instructions are provided when you start the map loader on your PC, as the existing maps on your expansion card are not compatible.

A problem that I came across was that when transferring the full set of UK maps (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) along with the ‘English Female’ voice, the map loader would stop download at about 82.5% and start the transfer to the phone, but stop the download to the phone at either 10% or 13.1%. It would sit there and ‘hang’ for a while, until I forced an exit from the map loader. Other E71 users seem to have come across this problem as well, but there wasn’t a solution mentioned.

The only way I could get the maps to transfer successfully was to use a file manager on the phone and delete the ‘CITIES’ folder, where the maps are stored on E:. I then reconnected the phone, started the map loader and was prompted with the warning that I should start the map application on the phone, so that a new ‘CITIES’ folder can be created. Once done, the map loader then checked the maps available and I individually copied (using the map loader) the UK maps in the following order:- England, Wales, Scotland and then the English Female voice for navigation guideance. I’m unlikely to ever need the Northern Ireland maps, so I left these out to save space.

I now have free voice navigation on the phone which seems to work pretty well. Improvements include – it is a lot faster when moving around the map (including zooming in/out), the map navigation is very clear on screen, though I have yet to try it out in ‘anger’. A downside is that the E71 seems to lose GPS fix intermittantly, though I was inside the house when I was trying the application. A better test of this (the GPS fix was always very quick) will be to try it out outside.

Overall – a very useful and welcome update from Nokia – thanks go to them for continuing to support older phones such as my E71.


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