Not Sure About Android Phones? Perhaps Free Google-Powered GPS Will Change Your Mind

Last Updated Oct 28, 2009 3:39 PM EDT

Mark my words: The end is nigh for standalone GPS devices. Phones can do the nav thing just as well, and in some cases much better.

Witness the new Google Maps Navigation app for Android-powered smartphones.

In fact, witness it firsthand in the following video, then read my take on what this means for Android, iPhone GPS apps, and GPS in general.



As you can see, GMN has some fairly killer features, not the least of which is Internet connectivity -- a duh capability that continues to elude most of the nav apps available for iPhone.

Speaking of which, those apps cost a pretty penny -- as much as $100! GMN is free. Free, I tells ya!

Of course, to get it, you'll need to buy an Android 2.0-powered phone -- and the early reviews on Motorola's new Droid are extremely positive.

I'm not saying this will tip the scales in Android's favor, only that it will get people talking about -- and perhaps even buying into -- the platform.

In the meantime, how can GPS makers like Garmin and TomTom hope to compete with free navigation software? I'm not sure, but for the moment I'm just hoping the iPhone nav apps will catch up with Google Maps Navigation's many killer features. [via TechCrunch]

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.