Nokia Maps Zooms Past 1.5M Downloads

Sometimes when you see a well-made product with a high-value proposition, you know it’s going to sell. Whether it was my first BlackBerry (s rimm) Pager or the Titanium Powerbook — even my first pair of Joe’s Jeans — I knew they were all going to sell quite well.

I had that exact same (good) feeling about Nokia’s (s NOK) Ovi Maps, a free download app/service the company made available on Jan. 21. Last week, when I met with Tero Ojanperä, Nokia’s EVP of services, he was obviously pretty excited about the launch and adoption of Ovi Maps. He wouldn’t give me the download numbers, but his colleague Anssi Vanjoki, an executive VP at Nokia, was happy to reveal them.

Ovi Maps has been download about 1.5 million times, according to Vanjoki, who also recently claimed that the company was “averaging a download a second, 24 hours a day.” Nokia says that a million Ovi Maps apps were downloaded in the first week after launch alone. The top countries for the app are China, Italy, the UK, Germany and Spain. With 1.5 million downloads, it seems the idea of opening up the app as a platform for other developers wasn’t such a bad one.

One of the reasons why Ovi Maps has been successful is because it’s free, much like the increasingly popular Google (s goog) and Apple (s aapl) mapping and navigation applications. The ramifications of this “free” move are clear when it comes to the fortunes of specialized device makers such as Garmin and TomTom. More importantly, these free apps will also severely limit opportunities for paid-for applications such as Verizon’s VZ Navigator, which sells for about $10 an app, and version 5.0 of which Verizon recently launched.