One of the most highly anticipated features of Google’s Android 2.0 update is the improved version of Google Maps, which essentially turns your phone into a feature-rich satellite navigation system.

When Google broke the news the sense of fear emanating from satnav manufacturers was palpable, but it was expected that the new features would be tied to Motorola’s latest Android device, the Droid.

However, in a surprise move Android has released the new version of Google Maps on the Android Market, meaning that all 1.6-enabled devices can download and run it.

As anyone who has been following the convoluted nature of Android updates will know, there’s a catch.

Not all Android phones are running 1.6 at present, with popular handsets such as the DEXT, HTC Hero and T-Mobile Pulse all sporting 1.5, with which this new version of Google Maps isn’t compatible.

Could Symbian executive Lee Williams be correct with his comments about Google building a fragmented platform? Such niggles certainly lend his words a little more credence.

Still, it’s a welcome upgrade and is being offered free of charge. Time for 1.6 owners to say goodbye to their bulky satnavs?