Yesterday, at the AllThingsD conference, Google’s Andy Rubin demoed a new, improved version of Google Maps that is due to hit Android devices “in a matter of days.” Mr. Rubin was careful not to give up too much information, saying he wanted to allow the Maps team to have the honors of detailing the new application, but he did give us several key pieces of information. First, the new version of Maps will be available, for the time being, for Android devices only (phones and tablets) and will be vector based. The vector-based maps allow for smoother scrolling, dynamic content loading, and less data being transferred over the network. Second, the new Maps will store maps that you query ofter for lightning-quick load times. If you always find yourself searching for restaurants or coffee shops in Times Square, that map will cache locally on your phone (it will even be able to used cached maps to navigate when offline).
Although not mentioned during his interview, Engadget is reporting that the new Maps will be supported by the Galaxy S, Nexus S, DROID, DROID x, DROID 2, DROID Incredible, EVO 4G, and G2 smartphones. Mr. Rubin did also say the version works on tablets, so we’re guessing that the Galaxy Tab will have the dubious honor of running these new bits as well.
It is a pretty exciting time to be a member of the Android family!