A free app that brings satnav functionality, using GPS with visual and audio turn-by-turn directions, to any Google Android tablet.
The Google Maps Navigation app builds on Google Maps, which already comes as part of the Android OS, by giving users visual and audio turn-by-turn directions from their current location (pinpoint by GPS) to a new destination. The app is really easy to use: once you’ve chosen to drive or walk, simply enter your destination. You can enter a street name, postcode, or even type of place, such as restaurant or Post Office, as your destination.
Once your handset’s GPS has identifies your location, which can take anything from a few seconds to over a minute depending on signal strength, the rout is calculated. A blue icon is displayed on the map at your current location, with a blue line marking the route the software has created. You can also view step-by-step instruction as a list, rather than on the map. Meanwhile, a female voice offers an audio version of the instructions. We loved the range of customization options, from being able to turn off the audio navigation to switching between 3D satellite maps, street view and standard Google maps. Because the app uses an Internet connection to obtain the latest maps.
There are some negative points though. Unlike many satnav’s, the app gives you the same estimated journey time no matter what the time of day. For example, it calculated 38 minutes for a journey from King’s Cross to the Kent/London borders – achievable in the early morning perhaps, but unrealistic during rush hour. In fact the only indication of how congested your route comes from Google’s Traffic View, which colors roads in green, yellow, and red based on how busy they are. It won’t reroute you to avoid traffic jams either.