updated 03:50 pm EST, Mon November 23, 2009
Maps Navigation brings most features to 1.6
Google today gave Android a further edge by porting Google Maps Navigation to Android 1.6 phones. The update gives the T-Mobile G1, myTouch 3G and some international devices support for the turn-by-turn navigation system that was previously limited to the only Android 2.0 device, the Motorola Droid.
It lacks a handful of features that depend on Android 2.0, like voice recognition, but still supports the bird's eye and street view perspectives. Google also suggests the app's unique option of creating shortcuts to locations on the home screen to skip typing directions by hand.
Updating the navigation app requires a free download of a beta version of Google Maps from Android Market.
The update gives Android a further advantage in smartphone-based navigation as it provides advanced, free directions that don't usually exist elsewhere. Google has said it's talking with Apple to bring the feature to the iPhone, preferably through the native Maps software written by Apple itself, but hasn't said how close it may be to implementing the feature or with what limits. iPhones support speech commands but aren't necessarily guaranteed to get the same level of features.