Google crushes yet another technology with free Maps
Fresh off the press from Engadget, we have news that Google will be releasing a huge update to their Maps application when they release Android 2.0. The featureset is pretty impressive – turn-by-turn, traffic updates, voice nav, satellite views, street view routing, and a very clean interface.
This is huge, and puts a lot of pressure on the nav manufacturers to come up with compelling reasons to buy a standalone device to do turn-by-turn navigation, especially at high end price points. I give them maybe another year (two at most) to find a way to justify their existence or they’re toast. In two years, smartphone OS’s and processors will be powerful enough to allow both phone calls and navigation simultaneously while playing back music. Too bad the Nuviphone didn’t come out two years ago. It would have given the nav companies a fighting chance to develop their technology to a point where they could have competed. (Of course, hooking their star onto Microsoft was probably a boneheaded move too but there really weren’t many choices at the time so I’ll forgive them that.)
I highly recommend checking out the Engadget site to see the video and the press pics. The video demo of the alternative UI that pops up when the device is docked, plus the voice recognition capability, is pretty damned impressive.
If you’re TomTom or Garmin? I hope you sold your stock before today.