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As you all know I was in London last week courtesy of WomWorld, attending Nokia’s ‘Secret Event’ of the new Ovi Maps and Good Things. It was an incredible experience and there were nine other bloggers invited from all around the world. It was great to meet them all in person and get to know them a little better. As for the event we were set a challenge, to navigate our way around London finding all the ‘good things’ and later have a Q&A with the Ovi Maps product manager Arshia Varlet. Check out the full story and more after the jump…

Challenge: Find The Good Things

The challenge was set. To navigate our way to five different locations and finally meet opposite the Tower of London near the River Thames. First team to arrive would win 3 Nokia N97 minis each to trial. Armed with nothing but our N97’s, a tube ticket and some cash, we were split into five groups and all sent off in different directions. Using only Ovi Maps we were asked to navigate to a particular co-ordinate, then upload an image of the good thing at that location, take a screenshot of the location on Ovi Maps, and solve the cryptic clue given with each co-ordinate. Once we sent all the information through, we received a text with the co-ordinates and clue for the next good thing. I was paired up with my good friend Phat^Trance of DailyMobile.se, and we were determined to bring those N97 mini’s home.

Location 1 was Wellington Arch which is located in the heart of London at Hyde Park Corner and it is a landmark for Londoners and visitors alike. Originally commissioned as a grand outer entrance to Buckingham Palace, this massive monument was moved to its present site in 1882.

Location 2 was the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue opposite the Buckingham Palace, which commemorates the death of England’s longest reigning monarch – Queen Victoria. The statue was carved from a two-thousand pound block of solid marble, with figures representing Truth, Peace, Constancy and Motherhood.

Location 3 was Trafalger Square, the worlds most famous square, which was laid out to commemorate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Dominating the square, on a column that is 185 feet high, is the 17 foot high statue of Nelson himself.

Location 4 was the 135m tall London Eye, the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel. It was launched in the year 2000 and has already won over 75 awards for national and international tourism, outstanding architectural quality and engineering achievement, and has welcomed over 30 million visitors from all over the world.

Location 5 was the Tower of London, which was built on the Thames by William the Conqueror to protect London and assert his power. The tower is an imposing fortress with many layers of history and has now become one of the symbols of royalty.

Thoughts On Then Nokia N97 & Ovi Maps

The way I see it was that the task was flawed from get go, as we were all equipped with the wrong tools. Initially we were going to receive the N97 mini in order to test the device and the new version of Ovi Maps, however due to the delay of the launch by Nokia, we were all given the N97 instead. On first impressions I wasn’t too concerned as this would allow me to test out the N97 and see how it fairs. However, to keep it short, the experience was a disaster. The N97 struggled in getting a GPS fix, and at times took more than 10 minutes. The compass calibration kept getting reset everytime I slid open the keyboard, and the N97 just couldn’t cope and crashed many times. When taking images the processing took too long at times and uploading pictures wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be. Overall I find it hard to say anything good about the device or service. But hopefull with the release of the new and improved maps and the 2.0 Firmware will fix all the current issues. More on this later.

Challenge: Results

So back to the challenge… Like I said earlier, first team to get to the London Tower would win 3 Nokia N97 minis each to trail, and I was lucky enough to get there first, and so Phat^Trance and I will both be getting the device as soon as WomWorld receive them. It will be interesting to see how the aesthetics of the device change the overall experience and how the new and improved OS manages to handle what I throw at it. But more on that later too. The event was an incredible experience though and I’d like to thank all the other bloggers plus Tom, Katie, Lydia and Dominic from WomWorld for making me feel so welcome. I will post the video interview with Ovi Maps Product Manager Arshia Varlet, and associates Pino and Danesh later, so stay tuned for that.

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