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Google Maps for mobile: Google Maps Navigation (Beta) for Android 2.0 devices.
This new feature comes with everything you'd expect to find in a GPS navigation system, like 3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic rerouting. But unlike most navigation systems, Google Maps Navigation was built from the ground up to take advantage of your phone's Internet connection.
Google only offering something to certain "customers" makes me wonder is this realy being offered for free, or has Verizon bought in, to offer Google maps navigation as an exclusive.
Would be nice to be able to try it out, because it sounds like a great product.
Of course, some will always want a dedicated GPS for ease of use and for not having to interfere with placing and receiving calls. Still, I can see this cannibalizing a portion of the GPS market due to cost (no dedicated hardware, no subscription) and convenience (always in your pocket).
I've got Tom Tom GPS (a one-time software purchase) on my AT&T Tilt, and it functions very nicely. I've found it more than adequate for my infrequent GPS needs, and have not invested in a standalone GPS. I'd be an ideal candidate for the Google Maps tool.
In street view & sky map it uses the compass and movement sensors within the phone, so as to correctly display the correct view as you move it around in the air. The built-in GPS is much quicker than my tomtom.
Since there is now free fully functional navigational hardware and software built-in to phones, things like the tomtom will soon be dead!
The voice recognition shocked me, as I use this for Google searches. The PC doesnt seem to come close to how well my phone does this.
Its all good stuff. (Not so good for my wife, who hasnt been getting a lot of attention for the last two months!)
iPhone? Pretty please?
What about the iDont?
Anyway, my wife and I both got Sprint HTC Hero Android phones the first day they were available for sale, sold, done.
Now the amusing timing with this announcement is because it was literally just yesterday I mentioned to my wife that unlike the iPhone, one phone, one vendor, one global set of apps, that the Android platform wasn't playing on the same level field.
For instance, I suggested that one phone company could either make some exclusive killer apps to entice people to jump to their network, or dangle money in front of existing app makers for iPhone to port with one year exclusivity to Verizon, Sprint, etc. or some such nonsense.
Not even 1 day later Google announces my worst fear:
"Hey, look at this cool new Google MAP Navigation but none of you early adopters of Android can run it, neener neener Verizon's keener!"
So my wife was ready to bail on our Sprint Hero phones because the initial 30 days on our new phones isn't up yet and switch to Verizon to get the cool new phones.
Maybe that's the whole timing of this release by Verizon is to snatch everyone off Sprint before the 30 days is over and our contracts are locked in.
If it was deliberate, nice play.
Twice as much memory, a real hardware keyboard, a flash for the camera, I am really tempted.
We'll see where I stand on this in a few days as I really like my Hero, but hands on with the Droid could make me jump providers for the first time in years.
We shall see!