Google now offering Navigation in the UK

April 21st, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For many Android users, they are finding out today that Google have enabled Navigation within their Google Maps application on Android.  This adds:

  • Business search
  • Traffic alerts and auto re-routing around problem areas
  • Satellite and ‘Streetview’ views whilst navigating
  • Layers with ‘points of interest’
  • Voice activation
  • Low data use:  typically 200KB for a 20km route. Data is pre-cached and navigation continues if internet access is lost.

That last point is very interesting; one of my major issues with Google Maps (and why I often promote other solutions such as the free Ovi Maps on Symbian instead) is the need for a constant data connection, which simply isn’t always possible in the UK.  Now, it seems, Google agree, and can support navigation (at least) continuing without that data.  Of course, what would be even more interesting is if they offered these same facilities on Symbian and took on Ovi Maps directly.

As can be seen from the screenshot above, the software offers multiple choices when initially calculating the route, and clearly shows the traffic on each route (if available) with colour coding; this is a nice touch.

One downside though; this needs Android 1.6 or above, which rules out many devices, including the hugely popular HTC Hero, still stuck on Android 1.5 (it seems it’s not just Symbian phone that suffer firmware delays).  We’re hearing that this update will be available for the HTC Hero, but we’re hearing different dates; HTC have hinted at a firmware release within the month, whereas Google seemed to state this new navigation wouldn’t be available for the HTC Hero until June.  Equally, we’ve heard that the HTC Magic will not receive any OS updates at all, leaving them to potentially never have access to this new version.

Some content, including the new features courtesy of The Really Mobile Project, and the screenshot is courtesy of David Carrington on Flickr.


One Response to “Google now offering Navigation in the UK”

  1. HTC Hero 2.1 definitely coming soon | UK Gadgeteer Website Says:

    […] it’ll be no surprise that a firmware update was coming to the HTC Hero (we covered it here), and last week the Android v2.1 update started to roll out in Asia, HTC have now confirmed that […]

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