Google has unveiled Android 2.0, the latest version of its mobile operating system and the first to feature a free sat nav app in the form of Google Maps Navigation.
The Google sat nav service is based on Google Maps, so it includes many of the benefits Google’s mapping software offers over traditional sat navs.
These include 3D and satellite views, Street View, and automatically updated maps, business listings and points of interest (POI). Google Maps also gives live traffic information, a service traditionally available at extra cost on standalone sat navs.
Google Maps Navigation (GMN) is also said to support voice control so users can simply tell their phone where they want to go, and the navigation and directions will start automatically.
Which? has expert lab tests of in-car sat navs, so check out our Best Buy sat nav reviews and compare pre-installed and downloadable sat nav POI from brands such as TomTom, Garmin and the AA.
Free sat nav app shakes up the GPS industry
The move to provide a free sat nav app looks set to shake up the sat nav industry. TomTom recently released an iPhone sat nav app priced £60, and the cheapest iPhone sat nav app currently available is CoPilot Live which costs £26.
Which? tech expert Al Warman said: ‘Google once again revolutionises an entire industry by bringing its global expertise to a new market, and consumers stand to benefit because the Google service is free.’
HTC Hero gets Android 2.0 upgrade
The first mobile phone to run Android 2.0 will be the Motorola Droid, which is launching in the US in November, but with no confirmed UK release date.
It has, however, been announced that the HTC Hero, one of the most advanced Android handsets available in the UK, will be upgradeable in the future to the new Android 2.0 platform.
The Android OS already features on many smartphones as an alternative to Symbian and Windows Mobile, and is now emerging on the latest netbooks as a rival to Windows 7.
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