Google Maps for Mobile 5 Shown Off
At the D: Dive Into Mobile Conference today, Google's Andy Rubin showed off the new Maps app for mobile phones. Google Maps for Mobile 5 is the official name of it and it brings a slew of new features to all phones that use it. Rubin actually showed off the new version on a prototype tablet from Motorola running Honeycomb (Android 3.0) but the new Maps app will work on more than just that. The biggest change is that the map is shown in 3D vectors rather than boring flat shapes for over 100 cities. The images will scale without no rendering slowdown and quite frankly look terrific. What's more is that you can now use two fingers to tilt and rotate the maps in addition to pinch-to-zoom and basic movement. Google says the new vectors provide for a much faster experience and load quite fast, which brings us to the next new feature of Maps for Mobile 5, offline caching. That's right, now you can bring up maps when you have no data connection since it will be stored on your phone. The app will keep the most recent and frequently visited files on location and it will even be able to reroute while offline. You will still need to go online to alter the route, but if you go off-track while offline then you will be easily redirected back.
Google promises that most phones from the original Motorola Droid to recent phones will support these new features provided the phones can support 3D rendering and more advanced multitouch inputs. Oddly enough, the Nexus One will not be able to utilize all the features since it lacks some of the multitouch requirements, like for rotating. The phones that will currently support all the new features of Maps for Mobile 5 are the Motorola Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, HTC Droid Incredible, Evo, G2, and the Samsung Galaxy S line, including the new Nexus S. Google Maps for Mobile 5 should be going live over the next few days.