One of the key benefits of T-Mobile’s PND, Garminfone, over Google Maps is that it keeps a tremendous wealth of map information stored on the device, so if you’re swiping across vast regions quickly or are passing through a no coverage area, there are no gaps in map data. However, their release of an Android 1.6 device into a 2.1 world caused many true Andy fans to scoff and even made some mainstream customers reluctant. As much as I liked the device, it’s not surprizing to me that Garmin is considering a bow out of the mobile phone game.
But Garmin ins’t the only OEM offering that PND feature; HTC announced today their own map caching in the latest version of their custom Android work-over, Sense. PND quality service is illusive at this point, however, as can be seen in a video demonstration over at Engadget. Response isn’t exactly snappy at this early stage, but city maps will be free to download and utilizing them requires no data connection once they’ve been installed. Navigation is another issue of course, and it looks like HTC has their own service in mind. No word on if or when this new feature will be seen on existing phones in the States, but according to HTC’s Eric Lin, nothing has been ruled out.