Just in time for Thanksgiving travels, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is rolling out turn-by-turn navigation to all Android phones that have received the latest Android operating system update.
Google Maps Navigation was first available on the Motorola (NYSE: MOT) Droid that was running Android OS 2.0. Now it will run on any devices running Android 1.6, which is code-named Donut, according to the Google Mobile Blog. That includes such devices as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the original G1. The beta service allows people to get GPS directions using voice prompts and even automatic re-routing when you take a wrong turn.
Now that navigation is available on Android devices for free, will other smartphone-makers follow?
The release of free navigation on additional devices not only disrupts the personal navigation industry, but also other smartphone players, like RIM’s BlackBerry and Apple’s iPhone. Bill Glurley, a venture capitalist with Benchmark Capital, makes the argument clearly in a blog post: “Without access to their own mapping data, these vendors now face an interesting dilemma. Do you risk flying naked without free navigation or do you suck it up and swallow the above average royalty fee for each and every handset? Neither option is stellar. This problem isn