Andy Rubin, Vice President of Engineering at Google, has previewed the future Google Maps 5 on a Honeycomb powered device at the D: Dive Into Mobile event.
As opposed to current Google Maps versions that use bitmap tiles, the upcoming Google Maps version 5, arriving in the “coming days” as Rubin said, will be all about vector graphics. The main advantage is that, compared to current bitmap tiles that jerk a little while loading regardless of your mobile speed, vector graphics will seamlessly render without any issues. Even more, the new version of the map program will offer 3D graphics for buildings in more than 100 cities and cache files necessary to display places you visit or look up often in order for making them available offline, even for navigation.
The application refresh will also support new multi-touch gestures like two-finger tilt and rotate and the vector display of maps, besides the fact that it will be smaller in size, will remind you of the good old navigation apps like iGo, TomTom and alike. According to Google, the new application will be able to run on most Android devices that support 3D rendering and distinct multitouch but the following are listed as fully supporting Google Maps 5: Samsung Galaxy S, Motorola Droid, Motorola Droid X, Motorola Droid 2, HTC Droid Incredible, HTC EVO 4G, Samsung Nexus S and (HTC) T-Mobile G2. Check out a video of Andy Rubin showing the app off at 0:45. Don’t you think it’s a bit sluggish?