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Google confirms Maps with local map downloads as iOS lags | Electronista

A common message shown on TomTom OS when there...
Image via Wikipedia

Google Maps gets map downloads in Labs betaAfter a brief unofficial discovery, Google on Thursday confirmed that Google Maps 5.7 has the first experimental support for local maps downloads.

via Google confirms Maps with local map downloads as iOS lags | Electronista.

Google Maps for Android is starting to show a level of maturity only seen on dedicated GPS units. True, there still is no routing feature (you need access to Google’s servers for that functionality) But you at least a downloaded map that you can zoom out and in on to get a view without incurring heavy data charges. Yes, overseas you may rack up some big charges as you navigate live maps via the Google Maps app on Android. This is now solved partially by downloading in advance the immediate area you will be visiting (within a few miles radius). It’s an incremental improvement to be sure and makes Android phones a little more self sufficient without making you regret the data charges.

Apple on the other hand is behind. Hands down they are kind of letting the 3rd party gps development go to folks like Navigon and TomTom who both require somewhat hefty fees to license their downloaded content. Apple’s Maps doesn’t compare to Navigon, TomTom, much less Google for actual usefulness in a wide range of situations. And Apple isn’t currently using the downloadable vector based maps introduced with this revision of Google Maps for Android vers. 5.7. So it will struggle with large jpeg images as you pan and scan around the map to find your location.

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AppleInsider | TomTom for Apple iPhone released in U.S. App Store for $99

Apple Insider reports this morning that the TomTom GPS application has appeared in the U.S. AppStore. And if you decided to get the external antenna you can even use your iPod Touch as a GPS. That is way cool and way more useful than I had previously thought this was going to be. Kudos for TomTom to make the thing more widely available on the iPhone platform.

The product works with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, which include an integrated GPS receiver. It will reportedly also be compatible with the first-generation iPhone and the iPod touch once the separate combo hardware kit is made available. TomTom has not yet announced a price for the hardware package.

via AppleInsider | TomTom for Apple iPhone released in U.S. App Store for $99.

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Reseller lists TomTom iPhone kit

Not an iPhone, but definitely a lane assist!
Not an iPhone, but definitely a lane assist!

It’s not cheap, but the TomTom accessory kit for the iPhone 3GS is now listed on a re-seller’s website. Hopefully the Navigon and AT&T iPhone Apps haven’t stolen the thunder of the original TomTom announcement. But I guarantee the GPS performance will be a lot faster with an external device. I’m not criticizing the internal GPS on the iPhone. It is a compromise design that allows everything to sit and play well within the same old iPhone footprint. For good GPS reception and quick locks on satellites, that compromise is going to get in the way. Especially for anyone who has used purpose built, standalone model GPS navigators. My fingers are crossed in hopes the TomTom at least matches the low end of the navigator market with its hardware/software combo.

The application is said to take advantage of iPhone OS 3.0’s support for true, turn-by-turn directions. The software will have both nation-specific and international maps from TomTom, will work in either landscape or portrait modes, and give voice directions.

The software will reportedly be available for separate purchase from the App Store, and would rely on the iPhone’s internal GPS receiver. The hardware kit, however, comes with its own, separate GPS. It will be one of the first external accessories to take advantage of iPhone 3.0’s capabilities.

via AppleInsider | Reseller lists TomTom iPhone kit for £99.00 ($168.50).