Cnet reports that Nokia has announced a deal with travel guide empire Lonely Planet to sell mobile versions of their books to Nokia Maps 2.0 users. Traveling Nokia users will be able to download information for than 100 cities – and that’s just the first shipment.
This perfectly fits into Nokia’s plans to become a service company. To honor this strategy, the Finnish company earlier acquired Navteq ($8.1 billion) and geo localization social network Plazes (undisclosed)
What struck me about the partnership, is the price for each download. Nokia users will have to pay €7.99 to download the maps and background info to their mobile. I’m pretty sure people would be willing to pay this if there were no free alternatives. Isn’t it about time for some travel sites to offer some?
Of course there are services like Tripsay (review here) and Wikitude, which are accessible via mobile phone. Wikitude even works like a location based service, offering you Wikipedia pages based on your GPS position. But the problem is, mobile Internet in other countries than your own is way too expensive.
As long as international data plans aren’t mainstream, mobile travel guides are not so interesting when traveling abroad. What we really need, is a service that offers travel guides of great quality which can be installed as apps. Maybe they are around already, but not really salient. But as soon these guides become more popular, Nokia and Lonely Planet will only reach the hardcore fans and those afraid of new ideas. The rest will be savvy enough to look it up for free. So Tripsay, Wikitude, and competitors.., wake up!