HTC announced several improvements to their HTC Sense UI during their Desire HD and Desire Z launch. One of those improvements a lot of us wanted to see in action was their instant map feature. By pre-caching maps, one doesn't have to wait for every location change to download. In fact, one shouldn't need an internet connection at all.
At least that's the theory. When Engadget took the new mapping software for a spin, they found the occasional lag. Despite HTC's claim that there's no wait for downloading, Engadget's Vlad Savov found himself waiting for the map to catch up multiple times.
But, no "gray squares" in the map (caused by missing data) when they created this video. And the mapping is integrated with the smartphone's compass, so the map is always drawn to match which way the user is facing.
Alas, there is no projected availability for the new "pre-cached map" ability. Also unclear is whether this goody will end up costing you. While city map downloads are supposedly free, navigation and "other additional services" will cost something.
Have a look at pre-cached maps in action, in S£o Paolo, Brazil:
Source: Engadget (including video and image)