There were already plenty of reasons to get an Android device. Now there is another reason. A big reason. There has been an official announcement regarding the release of Google Maps Navigation. This provides turn by turn navigation, traffic data and voice commands, basically all the stuff you’d expect of a high-end in-car GPS system. It irradiates the major downside of using Google Maps previously on mobile devices: it caches map data of the route you’re going to take. The big advantages are: It’s free. It utilities Street View, which is potentially very helpful and a service that no one else can realistically provide. Using Google Maps means it knows what ‘Maps knows. That is; everything. Local businesses, attractions and landmarks should all be easier to locate. It also has voice commands, which is something Google has done very well before and likewise, I think their UI is usually on pretty good form.
It’s only going to be available in the US initially, but the same goes for many of these big ‘Map-based projects.
This is one in the eye for Apple and friends, whose app store is currently full of £40+ turn-by-turn navigation apps. It’s bad news for GPS system makers as well, who rely on their proprietary software to shift their hardware. If you are particularly cruel, you can watch the stock of Garmin and Tom Tom fall on Google Finance or head to Engadget for further (typically excitable) coverage and videos.