Android This Week: Droid Lands on Verizon; Google Adds Navigation

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gigaom_icon_google-androidThe big announcement in the Android world this week was the official release of Motorola’s (s mot) Droid on the Verizon (s vz) network. The Droid is the first Android phone for Verizon, and the carrier is throwing a lot of advertising weight behind the launch. GigaOM has a Droid for review, so look for continued coverage of it here. The handset is almost as thin as the iPhone, but it brings a physical keyboard into the mix, something Apple’s (s aapl) handset lacks. The next version of Android, 2.0, is standard on the Droid, making it the first phone with the new OS.

The announcement coincided with a report Wednesday that Google Maps is gaining turn-by-turn navigation capabilities. Google Map Navigation will originally be released for Android 2.0, ensuring that the search giant takes care of its own business first and foremost. The features rival those of dedicated navigation devices — and even surpass them with the ability to display the route in either satellite or street view. Street view users can see how upcoming turns will look by seeing the route superimposed over a photo of the actual intersection. Following the announcement, the stock prices for some of the major navigation device makers took a dive.

Also this week, a few details about another Android phone emerged. The Droid Eris by HTC is expected to be Verizon’s second phone with the OS. The Eris lacks a keyboard and appears to be a more budget-friendly phone. If rumors prove accurate, the Eris will be released shortly after the Droid, so there won’t be long to wait.

10 Comments

Joe

Mike, why do you want a device just for your car? Android phones will have turn by turn GPS navigation that should be the equal of Garmin, Tom Tom, et alia. I suppose you could mount your android phone on your dash so it sits there like the Garmin. Google maps are linked with google street view allowing the user to not only get instructions on where to turn, see it on a map, but also see what the street looks like. Huge advantage when you are lost.

Mike Snow

I’d like to see a device for my car that lets me really leverage an Anroid based device such as Droid. It would have a muti-touch screen that would fit into a “double-din” dash opening like the in-dash dvd or gps units do today. it would be pretty dumb, with screen, blue-tooth or maybe local device wifi, music amplifier, hook up to car speakers, and a docking station I could plug the Droid into. Once docked I would see the Droid screen & be able to interact via the muti-touch screen. I would get access to all of the software on the Droid, like maps and search, etc. I’d still get phone access via bluetooth, music, etc.

Some of the car players are getting close, but don’t really open up access to the software available on the hand held device.

And if you could do it for the car do a netbook on the same principals, and let me consolidate onto one very portable device that I plug into dumber devices for extended sessions

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