Google has slipped turn-by-turn navigation into the latest version of Android, giving away one of the few mobile services for which punters were still prepared to pay. The application, which will only be available on the yet-to-be-launched devices using Android version 2, provides all the functionality that one might expect from …
This reminds me why I never usually get 'new' technology...
My T-Mobile G2 seems old already.
Embrace, extend, eliminate
... ex ter min ate ... resistance is futile ... you will be destroyed ...
It's not just Microsoft folks need to worry about.
It's got to be paid for somehow - so will we get "Turn left after 100 metres at Burger King [special two for one offer this month]. Then proceed straight ahead along the High Street for half a mile [but why not pull in to Suzi's House of Massage on the right if you're feeling tired]"?
I think this is US-only. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Anyone remember Netscape?
Isn't this the sort of thing that Microsoft used to get into trouble for? Giving away apps free with an OS?
Surely the whole idea of this is so that everyone on Android doesn't buy a satnav and therefore sees Google's adverts?
I got the G1 from T-Mobile when it first came out. It just gets better every month with new cool stuff. Unlike when I had Windows Mobile on my Orange SPV which never improved or updated.
Anyway - how do I get Android 2?
Sell shares in tomtom!
free! .. its google's favorite price
It shouldn't be location locked. Google Maps is a global application.
Yes some features mightn't work everywhere, like Streetview, traffic and public transport but that would be the same for parts of the US also.
HTC have confirmed that the G2/Hero will be getting the Android 2.0 update. That G2 is starting to look a little bit newer :)
This is the future of mobile
This is an excellent demonstration of why all the smartphone manufacturers need to shift their viewpoint well away from the 'phone plus organiser' approach to the 'network attached mobile computer' approach. Now in hardware that has already happened but everyone is still approaching the software from that viewpoint - even Apple to a degree - in that you have first and foremost a phone.
Manufacturers need to focus on providing open, extensible network enabled platforms (like Google and Palm have - I don't include Apple because its not really open) and supporting developers (Apple, Google and Palm) to produce fantastic applications that make people want to buy the platform. Palm has struck a happy medium on the application development front - developers are free to do what they want and publish without going through an approval process. Or they can submit applications to Palm for checking and get a 'seal of approval'.
Device sales are driven by a combination of quality hardware that provides a good ergonomic experience, the quality of the core OS and pre-loaded software, and the availability of third-party applications. You can see that in the Apple and Android-based sales. The better the experience, the better the device sells.
The best innovation I've seen in the last 12 months is the Palm Pre's approach to folding in connectivity to key application platforms and services that have nothing to do with Palm into the core of the phone's OS, and then following that through by making as much relevant use of them as they can. For example, if your phonebook doesn't have the number of an incoming call then your Facebook account is checked to see if the number matches anyone there, and if it does the appropriate contact information is displayed. Nice.
I'm not sure that Palm has the hardware quite right yet although I'd like to get my hands on a Pre for application development purposes. The software platform is definitely there. Nokia on the other hand are clearly still in handset mode and they need to move on quickly.
"Isn't this the sort of thing that Microsoft used to get into trouble for? Giving away apps free with an OS"
Well, Microsoft were actually done for abusing a monopoly in one market (PC OS) to prevent competition in another (Browsers)
Since I don't think google has a monopoly position on the OS, bundling things is merely a differentiator...
The price of "free"
I assume this is paid for by selling advertising to listed businesses and possibly displaying ads. Sadly, it would be far more useful if Google offered downloadable maps (which is useful if you get lost outside mobile coverage, as the article says, or if you're roaming in faraway lands - I tend not to need maps/directions for my home town but do in places where I have to pay roaming charges) but it's hard to serve up ads if you're not connected to the internet.
There are free turn-based direction systems already available for Android (Navit and AndNav2). Sadly both are rather shit, with the open-source Navit allowing you to easily download and store maps locally, but crashing whenever you try to view a big city. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.
I think you'll find that TomTom, Garmin, Navteq, Navigon and so on will have a somewhat different opinion here. That'll be their highly profitable market in the process of upping and disappearing before their very eyes. If Google start bundling the "killer app" of navigation and get away with it, Apple, Palm, MS (although more likely their OEMs), Nokia et. al. won't be far behind. They're not going to just sit there and watch Android pwn *their* target market.
Remember, when MS started bundling IE, nobody gave a shit 'cos it was crap and the first thing that world+dog did was install Netscape off the nearest PC rag cover CD. Then MS released a version that worked adequately at the time just as Netscape made the simultaneous ballsups of shipping the Communicator bundle 'o shite and, er, charging for it.
The issues with US-only is that apparently Google now own their own US maps, so they can do what they like with them. For Europe they're likely licensing the maps from a third party. I know with Google Maps on android in the UK, there are specific licensing restrictions that prevent you from building a traffic navigation/route planning application, or anything that can control a fleet of commercial vehicles, or perform GPS based asset tracking.
This may go some ways to explaining
Why Apple recently bought their own mapping company.
Whether they bundle it or not, it will still be free.
So i'd say the big boys (Garmin et al) will have a hard time keeping up either way.
@Anonymous Coward 09:52
I wouldn't base too much on your assumptions
Tied to Android v2
New "open source" meet old chrony capitalism. FFS when I spend $500 on a phone, I'd like updates. I'm sick of waiting on manufacturers to decide whether my perfectly capable Magic should be allowed to be blessed with the latest version of an OS.
Re: Early adopter
My understanding is that, as it is, the G1 does not have the space to install Android 2.0 in the boot ROM (about 70MB). However, there are clever folk out there who have boot managers that can take space from the storage, make it available to the boot drivers and then just "chop up" the OS into the two storage areas. Or, you could cut down Android 2 to fit in the 70MB available.
Either way, the G1 isn't really a great fit for 2.0 but, if you think it's worth a fair bit of effort, it's possible.
On the other hand, the G2/Hero now looks REALLY good value at around £300.
My iphone already has an application called Maps which shows me where I am (GPS) and how to get to where I want to go, so what's the news ?
Are you serious? The news is turn by turn directions.
Did you read the article? Or even the title of the article?