Android: Google Maps on Android has always been great, but today's update brings it to a new level of awesome, adding 3D maps, compass mode and offline caching so you can get anywhere you need to go — even without internet.
We've been waiting for this update ever since Google previewed it last week, and it's everything we hoped it'd be. You can now explore maps in three dimensions, showing you 3D representations of buildings, and using your phone's compass to automatically rotate the map so it always faces the same direction you are. The screenshots may make it look gimmicky, but the ability for Maps to more accurately represent what you're seeing in real life makes navigating a breeze, no matter where you are.
A possibly even cooler feature is offline caching, which allows you to use that awesome turn-by-turn navigation we love so much, even if you lose internet connection. In fact, it will proactively cache large map areas based on where you spend the most time — meaning Maps is extremely fast and reliable in the places you need it most. It can even reroute your turn-by-turn directions without connection, so you don't have to worry about getting where you need to go when you have crappy 3G coverage. By default, it only caches when connected to Wi-Fi, but there is a setting to allow prefetching on non-Wi-Fi connections as well. Hit the link to read more, or just head to the Market to update it and try it out for yourself.
Google Maps 5.0 is a free download for Android phones. Android 1.6 devices can get Maps 5.0, but most of the new features (including 3D maps and offline caching) requires 2.0 or above.
The Next Generation of Mobile Maps [Google Lat Long Blog]