Earlier this week, Google unveiled the “Nexus One”, an Android-powered cell phone manufactured by HTC with lots of input from Google.
During the keynote presentation when the phone was unveiled, they showed off a version of Google Earth on the phone, and the app will be available for Android devices soon. While the app looks very similar to the iPhone version, there are some key differences.
The advantages of each:
- Voice Commands: With Google Earth open, tell it where you want it to fly and it’ll go there. The video below shows an example of this.
- High resolution: The Nexus One’s screen is a touch bigger (3.7″ vs. 3.5″ on the iPhone), but has much higher resolution — 800×480 vs. 480×320 on the iPhone, resulting in a much sharper view of the earth.
- Faster Processor: The processor in the Nexus One is quite a bit faster than the processor in the 3GS, which should make the application run more smoothly. However,due to the higher resolution, the application needs to deal with more than double the pixels. Until we can get them side-by-side, it’s hard to say which one will run better.
- Multi-touch: This is really the only advantage that the iPhone has, but it’s a good one. Instead of having to pull various sliders around on the screen, you can just use two fingers to zoom, pan, tilt, etc. Holding the phone sideways and using your thumbs is a great way to do it.
Since the time that video was produced (with Google Earth version 1.0), Google has released version 2.0 of the app with some nice enhancements. Among them is synchronization with your “My Maps”. No word on whether or not that feature is included in the Android version.
While it’s fun to talk about the small differences in Google Earth on the two platforms, the two versions of Google Maps aren’t even close. The Android version is simply amazing, and it’s only getting better with the Nexus One. The main difference is that the Android version includes free turn-by-turn navigation. Just hold up the phone, tell it “navigate to xx” and it’ll fire up Google Maps, locate your destination and start taking you there! It’s very slick. In fact, when Google unveiled it, stock prices of the major GPS navigation companies (Garmin, TomTom, etc) dropped quite sharply.
For more information about Google Maps on Android, check out the latest entry on the Google Lat Long Blog.