maps 2

After Andy Rubin showed off a Honeycomb-running Motorola tablet, he proceeded to demo the latest version of Google Maps. The update promises a 3D viewing mode, compass orientation, and offline caching of maps. But, perhaps best of all, Rubin claimed that "it'll be on cellphones in a matter of days."

The biggest change is the ability to render 3D buildings at the street level. Because it will render vectors instead of tiles, maps will supposedly load several times faster, no matter how fast your connection is. Vectors are also easier to store than tiles, which will allow offline caching of maps, even entire cities. Therefore, if you have the entire map cached, you won't even need a data connection to re-calculate your route during navigation - your phone will have all the information already stored. The third and final new feature is compass orientation, which will change the orientation of your map based on the direction you are facing.

Unfortunately, not all Android devices will be able to take advantage of every feature. Here is the list of devices that are completely compatible with the update:

While the fact that the Nexus One is not on the list may be bewildering at first, a trip down memory lane will inevitably bring up the device's multitouch issues, which are reportedly why the phone is not going to be receiving the update's rotate functionality (though it will be seeing all the other features). We just have one more question for you, Andy: how do you define "a matter of days," exactly?


Sources: TechCrunch, Engadget

  • aj

    Holy shit. I just shat.
    I need some paper towels.

    Oh. Also, this looks pretty cool.

  • Young

    What...Nexus One is not on the list?
    and Droid is on it?
    What's up with that???

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Engadget just updated the article with more info on the Nexus One situation, so we're updating ours now. Basically, the Nexus One will support the new maps but not the multi-touch rotation, due to its screen limitations.

  • Matze

    First signs that the Nexus One is no more the only dev device? Hope that these are no bad signs for us...

  • stoli89

    Just wish the offline mode was not dependent on caching only favorite/most visited geo-positions. It doesn't meet my need when going abroad to download maps prior to travel. Data/roaming in foreign countries can get pretty expensive, so Google maps is still limited to USA only, IMO. Within the USA it really is a good deal.

    • Alan Tucker

      Limited to USA only!!!!!

      Depends what country you live in, there are other countries outside the US you know, lol

  • John Millan

    I really like the new map interface. I know this isn't relevant but kinda reminds me of Ghost in the Shell when they were trying to track the garbage truck using the in brain GPS. Cant wait to get mine

  • john

    What about the dell streak?

  • Astria

    no love for Desire either?

    • Alan Tucker

      I'm sure it will work, don't forget the Desire is practically an HTC branded Nexus One

  • Kane

    Pretty sure most modern phones will be supported, including the Desire. The list above only lists 100% compatibility, but I would settle for 90% as well, whatever hardware permits.

  • zen kun

    perhaps something or emulations could be ported in xda tho