SatNav manufacturers have surely sweat up when the big G announced Google Maps Navigation. But it was Android 2.0 only for use in the US. Now Google is cranking up the dials in the sauna and are letting Navigation loose on Android 1.6 (or Donut in their pastry-based codenaming scheme).
Installing this new version of Google Maps Navigation on your Donut-powered device is dead simple - it's up in the Android Market. That's great news for early Android adopters - even the T-Mobile G1 (the first ever Android phone) got updated to 1.6.
Some features of the 2.0 version of Google Maps Navigation apparently won't work, like the voice commands, but other features will be included in this release (e.g. the Layers functionality).
Of course, Google Maps Navigation is still in beta and is only available for the US. XDA Developers spring to the rescue as usual. They've created a modified version, which would run outside the US across the globe wherever Google Maps has coverage.
The hacked Google Maps version can be installed even on phones which aren't rooted (if you don't know what that means, you should probably try the no-root version first).
This means that all the needed data is there - Navigation doesn't use some US-specific data from Google Maps. So, (fingers crossed) when Navigation comes out of its beta status, it might just get available on our side of he Big Pond (and God forbid, even on other mobile platforms as well).