NTT DoCoMo just announced that they have agreed to form business and capital alliances with ZENRIN DataCom in order to provide advanced map and navigation services for mobile phones. The capital alliance will see DoCoMo take a 10.27% stake in ZENRIN by acquiring 1,700 newly allocated shares in a deal expected to be completed by June 8. Financial details were not disclosed.
The partners plan to develop advanced map services by combining DataCom’s map content and application technologies with DoCoMo’s cutting-edge mobile handsets. DoCoMo will provide a utilitarian search platform that will be integrated with highly functional mobile navigation services to be developed by DataCom. The services will be linked to parent ZENRIN’s extensive cartographic database.
GPS embedded handsets combined with decent dynamic maps for location-based services is a logical evolution for DoCoMo. Considering their past strategy of announcing multiple partners – like Search for example – it’s somewhat strange to see them going with just one.. for now. Perhaps we’ll see news from the MapFan and Navitime folks related to this sometime soon as well.