Version 5 of Google Maps has just been announced for Android. It will be released “in a matter of days,” and most Android users should be able to download it free, at that point.
Coming with the Maps update will be the end of tiling. Whoohoo! It will use vectors, which brings the ability to see maps in 3D (see screenshot). For anyone who has used Google Earth on their Android device knows, Maps will now let you tilt and rotate any map with your fingers.
Equally as notably is the addition of offline caching, making those long trips to areas with data deadzones less scary. Besides keeping the map/route on file, the offline cache will also be able to reroute if you miss that exit and don’t have continuous data. The update will be available for all Android devices with 2.2, and possibly for all with 2.1, as well. I have a 2.1 device, so I’m a little nervous at this point… I REALLY want to be able to use this update!! I use Google Navigation daily.