A new version of Google Maps for Android. One that’s faster than ever before, update to version 5 which now draws maps with a dynamic map rendering engine, can be used offline (perfect for tube journeys) and is 3D. Pretty nice is right.
Andy Rubin showed off the new Maps app when he demoed 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. The updated app will also be available on the Market in just a matter of days.
Instead of pinging Google’s servers and downloading individual squares to build the entire map image, the new app receives meta data about your most popular locations and renders them on the fly. The new maps should now load much faster .
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.
Google did not specify the requirements for Google Maps 5, but from the early reports it looks like it will initially be limited to devices with Android 2.2. 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.