Google has rolled out a Google Maps for Mobile update for BlackBerry handsets. Though this is the first update of the year for BlackBerry users, the wait for Version 4.0 may have been worth it as it includes, among another features, a Search by Voice option.
"Simply press and hold the green 'call' button, speak your search and see your results quickly appear without typing a single letter," Software Engineer Ole CaveLie explained in an April 7 post on the Google Mobile Blog.
Users can speak the name of a specific business-"La Pergola in Los Angeles"-or request a more general search, such as, "Italian restaurants."
CaveLie also said, "Currently supported languages include multiple English accents and Mandarin Chinese." (Surely the phrase "multiple English accents" is enough to warrant a download.)
Care to forego voice searching for some tried-and-true typing? A time-saving personalized search function-already enjoyed by Android handset users, CaveLie said-begins pulling up terms that a user has already searched for, using the first letters typed.
Still other new features enable BlackBerry owners to:
""Use Labs to try experimental features like the Scale Bar or Terrain layer (great for hiking enthusiasts!)See nearby businesses at an address or location by selecting a point from the map.Report a problem with the map data or a business listing.""
BlackBerry owners can now download Google Maps 4.0 for BlackBerry "by going to m.google.com/maps in your BlackBerry Internet Browser. The update for BlackBerry Enterprise Server administrators and users, including support for BlackBerry OS 5.0 phones, is available here.
RIM's BlackBerry fan base continues to grow, and in 2009, RIM was second only to Nokia in worldwide smartphone market share, shipping 34.5 million handsets. On March 31, RIM announced revenue of $14.95 million for fiscal year 2010, up 35 percent from a year earlier.
However, according to AdMob, the fastest-growing smartphone operating system in the United States is Google's Android.
Google's Nexus One smartphone, as Google reminds visitors to its Google Maps for Mobile page, comes with Google Maps preinstalled.