Google Maps is a great application but the bad news is that if the Vodafone (UK) website is to be believed then the Google Maps is not available for your Sony Ericsson W960i.
Read on to find out how to install the Vodafone version of Google Maps which contains the specific functions to work out your current location using Vodafone base stations (mobile phone masts).
Google Maps from Vodafone
If you are with another mobile phone provider then you should use their version of Google Maps.
If you install a generic version of Google Maps or one from the wrong mobile phone provider then I think that the maps will work but the location feature will not work.
If you are abroad and you have the Vodafone version of Google Maps then I think that the maps will work but the location feature will not work because you will be using a roaming network.
One thing to bear in mind when you are abroad is that the data download for the maps may not be included in your monthly data allowance so it could get very expensive.
Download the Vodafone Version of Google Maps
The good news that with a little effort Vodafone (UK) users can download Google Maps for free. Here are some simple instructions for SE W960i users to use for installing Google Maps from Vodafone (UK).
Using your desktop PC open Internet Explorer and go to http://www.vodafone.co.uk
Click on Mobile Internet followed by Manage My Mobile Internet then in the menu on the left side of the screen click on Mobile Applications.
You will now be treated to a tantalising list of available mobile applications including eBay, MusicStation and Google Maps (drool).
The first problem is that Vodafone won't let you access any of the applications until you identify the make and model of your phone so go ahead and choose the SE W960i. But wait, disaster, there is no SE W960i available to select.
The solution is to choose a different phone.
Certain applications only work with certain phones but if you choose the SE W900i then at least the bar on Google Maps is removed and you can drag the Google Maps icon over to the screen of your phantom W900i.
Once Google Maps appears in the screen of your fictitious SE W900i you can enter your mobile phone number into the box and click the Send to my phone button.
Get the SMS From Vodafone
Clicking the Send to my phone button will cause Vodafone (UK) to send your real W960i phone an SMS text message which contains a link to allow you download Google Maps. The link is probably the same for all users but I won't spoil the fun by giving it out here.
Download Google Maps To Your W960i
You can now open the link by selecting Options and Open in browser.
Once you have opened the link the Google Maps application will be rapidly downloaded to your W960i and you can select Install.
Run Google Maps On Your W960i
Google Maps needs to connect to the Internet and I had equal success using the Vodafone Contract Wap, Contract Internet or WLAN (WiFi).
I have to say that Google Maps on my W960i is an amazing application which almost alone justifies the purchase of the phone.
See Using Google Maps On My W960i to see Google Maps for Mobiles in use including the amazing almost GPS like location finding feature which shows your position on the map with an accuracy up to 1000 metres. Truly amazing!!!
I really can't understand why Sony or even Vodafone (UK) don't promote Google Maps for Mobile a little more.
Please note that although Google Maps for Mobiles is free to download and the software is free to download from Vodafone (UK) it does require a data tariff to use Google Maps over a 3G connection. The current location feature will only work if you are connected using Contract Wap or Contract Internet. The maps work perfectly with a WLAN (WiFi) connection but the current location feature does not work with WLAN.
To set the data connection for Google Maps for Mobiles go to Tools -> Control Panel -> Security -> MIDlet accounts. Select Google Maps and set the Internet Account to Contract Wap.