Bing has added voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation to the Bing mobile app for Windows Phones 6.1 and above. Bing thus joins Google, Nokia and to a lesser degree MapQuest in offering free mobile navigation services. It also means more woe for the PND makers (TomTom, Garmin, et al).
The voice component of the Bing navigation service is powered by Tellme:
We took advantage of the Microsoft Tellme team’s expertise in voice applications to deliver an amazingly lifelike voice experience for the turn-by-turn navigation. If you have a Windows phones on Sprint, T-Mobile, or AT&T you can use the voice guided navigation.
Now when getting directions with Bing, you’ll see a new “Navigate” button. By selecting it, Bing will calculate your route, and guide you as you drive. You can select the fastest or shortest route, choose to avoid traffic and/or tolls, get a map or a list of directions, and see arrows and hear alerts to know which way to turn next.
There are a lot of installed Windows Mobile smartphones but their share, at least until Windows Mobile 7 comes out later this year, is declining. A provocative question to ask is: will this feature come to the excellent Bing iPhone app?
Google has been holding back Navigation from the iPhone (my guess is to try and differentiate Android handsets). A free voice-guided navigation app as part of the Bing iPhone client would probably be widely used by iPhone owners and probably motivate Google quite quickly to bring out Navigation for the iPhone.
RIM users would also welcome the new Bing functionality I’m sure. While the scenario immediately above is speculation on my part I would be surprised if Bing didn’t try and populate this across the top smartphone platforms — perhaps even Android.