Owners of smartphones based on Google’s Android operating system will be rejoicing at the news that a beta version of a brand new Google Maps, complete with voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, has made it across the Atlantic amid absolutely no fanfare.
The Google Maps Navigation app is in pre-release form and it first turned up in the US as version 4.1.1 at the beginning of April. Now the app has been proven to be working well on certain UK-owned Android smartphones.
The latest Google Maps Navigation app is ostensibly designed for use with phones running Android 2.1, but according to reports from the XDA Developers forum, phones with version 1.6 of Android onboard are also said to work well with the new app. This includes such behemoths as the recently released Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10, which with a 4 inch screen is perfect sat nav replacement material.
Independent tests have confirmed that Google’s own Nexus One and its step-sibling the HTC Desire are both able to run the app in full. The Nexus One, being an official Google device, actually gets a couple of perks over the other Android phones, but all of these mobiles can reap the benefits of free navigation whether you are behind the wheel or on foot.
Nokia made history when it launched the first ever completely subscription-free turn-by-turn navigation app earlier in the year and other firms have been struggling to catch up. Google already launched its own free navigation app in the US, but international users had been left in the dark, until now.