Google Maps Sends Standalone GPS Units To Early Grave With Offline Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Search
This isn't entirely new -- it was already possible to view an area of a map offline in Google Maps -- but what's changed is that you can download an area and continue to receive turn-by-turn directions when there's no connectivity. You can also search for specific places, find useful information like hours of operation and contact info, and view ratings for places.
Here's the neat thing about how this all works - once you've downloaded an area, Google Maps will automatically switch to offline mode when it detects you're in a location with crummy service or no connectivity whatsoever. It's seamless, in other words. Once a reliable connection is reestablished, Google Maps will switch back online.
If you don't see the feature yet on your Android device, hang tight, as Google is gradually rolling it out. And if you're rocking an iOS handset, sit tight as well, support for this new functionality is "coming soon," Google says.