Nokia announced its acquisition of Navteq
today for $8.1 billion. Nokia is backing its play to add GPS to its cell phones by buying one of the two major mapping companies. Both Navteq and Teleatlas provide the maps loaded onto the majority of GPS devices on the market. Both companies field ground crews
to go out and survey roads throughout the U.S., Europe, and any other countries for which they want to offer maps. These crews drive around with high-tech equipment charting new and existing roads.
As the labor-intensive work of these companies isn't duplicated easily, the purchase by Nokia is probably a good move. Nokia's move also dovetails with product plans from automotive equipment maker Siemens. At the Frankfurt auto show last month, the company demonstrated an in-car navigation system that used a GPS-enabled cell phone as its brains, transmitting map data through Bluetooth to a dashboard-mounted LCD. Cell phones--is there anything they can't do?