Today mobile phone giant Nokia [NYSE:NOK] snapped up GPS maker NAVTEQ [NYSE:NVT] for the healthy sum of $8.1 billion. Because EU regulators and Nokia shareholders had already green-lit the deal, the completion of the transaction wasn’t a surprise to any, but Nokia’s share price still rose thanks to the news. This deal comes on the heels of word that GPS makers TomTom and Tele Atlas had joined forces, forming another formidable GPS conglomerate.
Interestingly, it was not long ago that NAVTEQ expressed plans to begin the development of a new GPS-based mobile phone, perhaps not unlike Garmin’s well-received Nuvi Phone. With the seemingly invincible Apple [NASDAQ:AAPL] iPhone 3G critically lacking the ability to perform turn-by-turn driving directions, there’s a sizable hole in the market where a powerful GPS phone could grab a sizable niche of driving-oriented phone users who require capable GPS, easy-to-read large format screens, and a high wattage speakerphone for hands-free use. One can only assume this is the niche that the new Nokia/NAVTEQ partnership will aim for.