Google Maps Navigation, the free turn-by-turn GPS app, isn't a shoe-in to appear on Apple's iPhone despite recent blog reports.
According to MacUser:
"The navigation system is available as a free update to Google Maps on Android phones, but won't stop there. Google confirmed at a London press conference that it plans to bring free satnav to other smartphone platforms, including the iPhone, although it wouldn't say when."
A Google spokesperson told eWEEK April 23:
"No update beyond what we said at the launch of Navigation in the autumn: "we are looking into bringing Navigation to the users of other platforms, including iPhone.""
This is a big deal for iPhone users paying $99 for TomTom in the United States.
Some of the users would surely love to trade that app for a free one that, from my testing, works pretty darn good.
When Google unveiled Google Maps Navigation as a premier application for the Motorola Droid from Verizon Wireless in November, journalists and analysts were abuzz over the fact that the free, turn-by-turn navigation app was initially only available on Google Android smartphones.
This marked a glaring inconsistency with Google's application policy. Usually when Google rolls out a mobile app, Apple's iPhone and Android are among the first platforms on which an app is placed.
Things began to change after Apple last summer blocked Google Voice on the iPhone for features deemed too competitive ("overlap" was the term they use), and made Google rewrite Google Latitude for iPhone as a Web app.
Google wouldn't state the reasons why Google Maps Navigation was Android-only, and in fact it only ran on the Android 2.0-based Droid at launch. The app was eventually ported to run on Android 1.6 devices.
Apple has launched more than 50 million iPhones into the market, so adding the navigation app to the iPhone would be a smart move for Google, if only Apple allowed it!
One wonders whether Apple will really sign off on this in the wake of the Google Latitude and Google Voice issues, not to mention that the rivals have had several other issues in this emerging mobile Web war.
Why wouldn't Apple just build its own free nav app to cancel out Google's?