Google brings free turn-by-turn Navigation to UK Androids (updated)

Talk about random gifts from the ether. British Android device owners are waking up this morning to discover their robot-themed operating system has gone and upgraded itself overnight. We've confirmed for ourselves that Google Maps Navigation -- yes, the free turn-by-turn stuff with voice directions -- has made its fully functional way across the Atlantic. This is the 4.1.1 Beta released on April 6 to US customers, but as we say, it's now working over in Blighty as well. We've tested it out on a Desire and Nexus One from HTC, with the latter offering the extra-cool option to orally instruct your Google search bar to "navigate to" your destination. Check out the gallery below for some visual edification.

[Thanks, Tes]

Update: We're now also sure the full Navigation service works on at least some Android 1.6 devices, such as the Dell Mini 5 and a reported Sony Ericsson X10 success over on the xda-developers thread.

Update 2: Numerous users have reported successfully using turn-by-turn Navigation on the 4.1.0 version, leading us to believe that the capability was in the Google Maps app all along and it's only now that the company has chosen to activate it. If you aren't yet on board, direct your Android 1.6 or above device to the Android Market and get navigating.%Gallery-91312%