Saturday, December 11, 2010
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Google Maps 5.0 for Android, Coming with Offline Mode
Getting a dedicated GPS device may not be the best idea anymore with a Google Maps update just around the corner. This update, version 5.0 for Google Android OS mobile phones, will address many of the current version's issues. The maps update is said to include 3D view, multitouch support and most importantly, offline mapping and navigation. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was seen showing off the new maps version, on a Motorola
tablet operating on Android 3.0 (codename Honeycomb) at a Google event.
Google claims the map will now offer better rendering and smoother navigation as Google has switched to vector graphics rather than the traditional map tiles. The new maps will include dynamic map drawing to improve rendering of scalable images especially for 3D buildings in major cities. This is made possible due to reworking of the map to use vector graphics, which are easier and faster to download and cache. Maps will be rendered not on the server but on the device, which will improve the transfer speed. The overall experience like panning, zooming and displaying 3D representations will happen faster as vector images are smaller in file size, which essentially means quicker to download. The map will have 3D views of buildings in over 100 cities across the world. The maps will also change its orientation automatically as you move, thanks to the new compass rotation support. There is also greater multi-touch support in the update so that users can tilt, rotate or pinch-to-zoom using two fingers.
The offline support is a major new addition that will not only store maps on the Android device's storage, but also store the most frequently searched or visited places, to speed up the whole navigation process. Google claims the new maps will download 100 times less data and with the local data cache, the data usage and the navigation should drop considerably. Google Maps will be able to reroute your navigation if you stray from the suggested course which won't require online data usage - an active data connection is required only when creating a new route.
Most of the Android devices with OS version 1.6 or above will be compatible with this new update but not all of them will support all features. Engadget has posted the list of supported devices which include Samsung Galaxy S, Motorola Droid, Droid X, Droid 2, HTC Droid Incredible, HTC Evo 4G,Nexus S and T-Mobile G2.
This post was written by: Franklin Manuel
Franklin Manuel is a professional blogger, web designer and front end web developer. Follow him on Twitter