Google has just released its free navigation software for mobile phones running Android 2.0, much to the chagrin of the big names in the GPS game. While folks like Garmin and Magellan have plenty to fear, even companies that use an iPhone app have to be worried too, because this, like most things Google, is just so much cooler than anything out there.
The new Google Maps Navigation software is everything you would expect from Google. First and foremost, it can turn any Android 2.0 device into a turn-by-turn GPS navigator, guiding you to any address you want. It can understand your voice, too: just speak the name of your destination instead of typing it (how much safer is that?), check traffic along the way, or use the car dock that automatically sets the phone into navigation mode, ready to hit the road.
Follow the link below for what this means for the GPS business.
Garmin has tried to break out of the GPS-only world with its own phone partnership, but it seems to be way too little, too late in that market. Magellan doesn't even have a dog in the phone fight. Many companies are going the app route, but given the popularity of anything related to Google, it's gonna be tough to compete. One thing's for sure: say "electronic maps" to anyone, and the first name they think of is the big G.
While currently only available on the Android 2.0 system, Google has made it clear that it's willing to play on the iPhone if Apple will allow it. New smartphones have been announced by Motorola and Verizon that will be running Android 2.0 and Google Maps for Mobile, which the navigation service is a part of.
You have to wonder if anyone is going to buy a standalone GPS when so many navigation programs are available on phones?