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Google Maps for Mobile 5.0 previewed: faster, useable offline and 3D

Gingerbread, Honeycomb and what else? Oh yeah, a new version of Google Maps for Android. One that’s faster than ever before, can be used offline (perfect for tube journeys) and is 3D. Pretty nice is right.

Google Maps for Mobile 5.0, demoed on the Motorola Honeycomb tablet, allows you to rotate and tilt around 3D buildings using two fingers as well as move and pinch to zoom in the traditional way.

Apparently the 3D vectors take up less space on phones than the current 2D maps do, allowing for a faster performance and a limited offline mode. Maps 5.0 will apparently keep a note of your most searched for locations. This means you’ll be able to check a portion of Maps when you’re offline via the Navigation app. Sadly any new route requests you ask for will require a connection, but this is better than nothing.

As well as coming installed on the Google Nexus S from launch, Google Maps 5.0 will be rolled out on the Android Market and will be available for all devices running Android 1.6 or higher. However, according to Engadget, only a handful of high-end phones will be able to run 100% of the features. These include the Samsung Galaxy S and the Motorola Milestone/Droid. The Google Nexus One, sadly, will be able to support most of the features, but not the 3D rotate and tilt functionality.

Sources: Gizmodo, Engadget.


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