Google Maps Navigation comes to Android 1.6

Google Maps Navigation at work.One of the most exciting parts of the Motorola Droid launch was the inclusion of Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn GPS system from Google. At first the feature was only compatible with phones running Android 2.0, which is only the Droid. Today Google announced that it would be moving the nav system down to Android 1.6, opening up the service to phones like the MyTouch 3G and G1.

I’d call this a big win for Android users. Until this update the hope was that some enterprising developer would hack the thing down to 1.6. This still leaves out the Motorola CLIQ and HTC Droid Eris, but hey, it’s better than the original situation. The 1.6 release also adds layers, allowing you to overlay information on the map, like Wikipedia articles on local points of interest and public transit lines. The one thing 1.6 is missing is the “navigate to” voice command, so you’ll have to enter everything by hand. Life’s tough, isn’t it?


Droid drops Nov. 6th, brings Android 2.0 along with it

Motorola Droid red eye.Today Verizon officially announced the Motorola Droid launch date: November 6th. The Droid will be the first phone to release with Android 2.0, which will include that jealousy-that-burns-like-the-herp-inducing navigation system. Yeah, the free turn-by-turn GPS that sent Garmin and TomTom stock into free fall. The phone will run $199.99 after a $100 debit card rebate on a two-year contract.

The phone has Verizon understandably excited (though it did seem like Verizon forgot about the Storm 2) – it’s got a snappy processor, a great screen, a decent keyboard, and an excellent operating system. It’s the phone Verizon’s been missing, and with the free turn-by-turn announcement today, it got even better. In my mind it’s the phone to have if you’re trying to avoid AT&T, as I expect any reasonable person would.

Verizon had this to say about the Droid: “It is a no-fuss, high-tech, location-aware, voice-recognizing, over-the-air updating, multi-tasking machine.” Sounds to me like quite a bit of fuss. Quite a bit of fuss I’d like to get my hands on – know what I’m saying?