kindle-fire-babyWhat a shock: Google Maps is not going to be available on Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet. Instead, Skobbler is launching ForeverMap 2 on Kindle Fire — and Nook – to take its place.

The Berlin-based company builds mobile navigation products based on OpenStreetMap data. And it sees a major opportunity in the obvious mapping void on probably the most popular non-iPad tablet platform.

“Amazon’s devices do not include pre-installed maps, and Google Maps isn’t even available,” said Skobbler co-founder Marcus Thielking in a statement. “We offer Kindle Fire users a solution that’s second to none in the Amazon App Store.”

Amazon can hardly expect Google to provide a mapping solution for Kindle, of course.

The giant online retailer and service provider has legally and ethically hijacked Android, the mobile operating system created by Google, to create Kindle, neatly excising Android’s links and hooks to Google services and replacing them with Amazon’s own content ecosystem. Google can’t feel good about that and so far hasn’t deigned to offer its apps on Amazon’s app store.

So Skobbler has jumped into the void.

And the company is offering an extremely interesting product: an open-source map built by 900,000 volunteers that is free for online use, with over 1,000 in-app purchases available at $0.99 and up that buy offline map access for cities, states, and countries. Cities are $0.99, states are $1.99, countries are $2.99, and continents are $5.99. Alternatively, for $9.99, Kindle Fire users can purchase complete and unlimited offline accessibility to all global maps.

In other words, it’s a great option for travelers who don’t want to pay cellular fees for data and roaming.

OpenStreetMap is a crowdsourced mapping project — a Wikipedia for maps — which Apple used in iPhoto at one point, FourSquare and other location-based social networking and mapping apps use, and some, including Thielking, believe will eventually surpass both Google and Apple’s current mapping solutions.

Nokia also provides a mapping solution on Kindle Fire, but Thielking says it is “extremely limited,” with insufficient detail and coverage.

ForeverMap 2 will be available on Kindle Fire and Nook later today.

photo credit: Oscar_Shen via photopin cc

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