TomTom announced that they will be adding their TomTom Live GPS devices to selected models across Europe. No news on a US debut. The TomTom will sit on the dash in its own holder, and will be integrated into the car's system so that turn announcements are made through the vehicle's audio system, as the music is temporarily muted.
The TomTom Live devices offer HD Traffic (recently upgraded for more accuracy) as well as local search and weather.
TomTom has released their new iPhone App, version 1.10. The updated includes new maps, always a good thing, and integration with Facebook, allowing you to find a Facebook event and navigate to it, while also finding Facebook locations (AKA points of Interest) and navigating to them. When you let TomTom access your Facebook feed, it pulls in where your friends have last checked in, then offers you the ability to navigate there.
The other notable update includes the ability to share your destination with Facebook, Twitter or simply to text your destination with friends; not bad. This is a Glympse type idea, where without the realtime updating so they see where you are in the meantime. When sharing TomTom posts a plain message indicating that you are navigating to a certain destination with a planned arrival time. Not bad.
While this is all well and good, the change getting most of the attention is the App icon change. Cruise the iTunes store and you'll see the criticism piling up. There must pretty good brand awareness of TomTom, but the hands wrapping around the earth logo must not be cutting it. Slap a car in there and now people get it?
Below are how your sharing your route will look in Facebook and Twitter:
Above: Posted into Facebook
Above: Destination as seen as the full twitter post.
Hummm, sounds pretty Big Brother to me, but it's all optional for now; and it's in the UK. TomTom is working with the Fair Pay insurance company in the UK to get consumers a TomTom GPS, while monitoring their driving habits. The TomTom devices can also help them become better drivers through a series of feedback alerts. The monitoring is similar to the Progressive Snapshot program where for a few months, Progressive gets to monitor your driving habits, times and locations to assess your risky behavior. If you're safe, you get a discount; if not, you're still in the big pool with everyone else.
The TomTom 3100 Pro is the device, and is build on a Fleet Tracking platform, where fleet managers can track a vehicle's whereabouts, its drive and idle time, and assemble those statistics into meaningful reports to increase efficiency or uncover that deadbeat in the workforce. The TomTom 3100 also has some nice features to help you drive more efficiently, like "harsh steering, cornering and braking. Active Driver Feedback raises the awareness and actively helps the driver to save on fuel."
TomTom is going for a new three tiered line-up approach to try to differentiate the features and make sure that the consumer value perception is clear and concise. I like the move, and hopefully the buying public thinks it's a good move too.
Their "Mission Statements" for each tier are:
Start: The entry-level, and budget-friendly, Start line offers an easy solution for new drivers by providing essential A-to-B navigation on a dedicated device. Start offers access to the world’s most complete and accurate database of maps, as well as features such as lane guidance and spoken street names that help make navigation easier and less stressful. Additionally, the product line offers new features for an entry-level TomTom line, such as access to nationwide fuel prices.
VIA: The mid-range VIA line offers a stress-free navigation solution for the busy person always on-the-go, such as a multi-tasking parent. With additional safety features such as Bluetooth hands-free calling, voice recognition, and advanced lane guidance, drivers are able to navigate through life while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
GO LIVE: The faster GO LIVE line offers the daily commuter all the features of the VIA and real-time information with access to connected, LIVE Services. Featuring the award-winning TomTom HD Traffic and branded Travel Apps, users can read restaurant reviews on Yelp® and TripAdvisor®, find hotel availability with Expedia® or automatically tweet their arrival time on Twitter without ever leaving the car. Additionally, they’ll have access to live fuel prices, weather forecasts, and local search.
Features of each Tier will include:
START: Lifetime Traffic Updates, Lifetime Map Updates, Spoken Street Names, Lane Guidance, IQ Routes, Maps of US and CAN, 7 Million+ Points of Interest, Essential Routing, Fuel Prices
VIA: Lifetime traffic Updates, Lifetime Map Updates, Spoken Street Names, Advanced Lane Guidance, IQ Routes, Maps of US, CAN, MEX*, 7 Million+ Points of Interest, Instant Routing Bluetooth® Hands-free Calling, Voice Recognition*, Enhanced Graphics, Slim Design and Integrated Mount
GO LIVE: TomTom HD Traffic, Lifetime Map Updates, Spoken Street Names, Advanced Lane Guidance, IQ Routes, Maps of US, CAN, MEX, 7 Million+ Points of Interest, Dynamic, Instant Routing, Bluetooth® Hands-free Calling, Voice Recognition, Enhanced Graphics, Slim Design and Integrated Mount, Click-and-Go Mount, Capacitive Touch Screen, LIVE Services incl. Fuel Prices, Travel Apps, Roadside Assistance
It will be interesting to see what models they stick into each tier. Expect these new units to start showing up this Spring.
Just about every day, it seems like some App, website or refrigerator goes "Social" with some feature that seems utterly useless for all but the three people who were involved in the project and their best friends. TomTom is bucking the trend here and is in fact adding a useful feature that wraps the TomTom navigation experience around both Facebook and twitter to enable you to do a couple of useful things:
1) Tweet/Post to FB or text where you are going - got friends following you, and maybe heading out to? Tweet your destination and maybe catch a few friends there.
2) Navigate to where your friends just checked into, a "Location" or an Event - yes; you are meeting them out and they just checked in. Pop open TomTom for iPhone and navigate there with this integration.
The new features will soon be available, and will be a free upgrade for current users of the TomTom iPhone App. Expect the new version 1.10 to appear in the iTunes store before the end of Q1.
The TomTom XXL 540TM is a great buy right now for a 5-inch GPS for under $100. This TomTom navigator comes withe the Lifetime Map option to keep you up to date on a regular basis. So in past, manufacturers would either 1) sell you individual updates yearly for about $75, or 2) sell you a subscription for traffic updates; but that was yesterday, and now many models come with the lifetime traffic updates included. Well worth it when you can get it for a reasonable amount. Here, you get it for free compared to the base product without traffic and map subscriptions.
The TomTom XXL 540 has some solid features, including maps of the US, Canada and Mexico, advanced lane guidance, over 7 million Points of interest, and IQ Routes which is a system that checks what historical average travel times might be and gives you a better estimate of actual travel time. THe IQ Routes is a half step to having a fully connected GPS system (like a smart phone), but it's a good addition. Finally, the 5-inch screen will make typing in the address and seeing the directions all that much easier.
TomTom announced a souped up navigation and info center targeted at electric vehicles that can give you charge status and anticipated range. The TomTom will also give you the most economical routes and if you are worried about your ability to find a charging station, the new TomTom will navigate to one of 5,000 charging stations that are expected to be in place by the end of the year..... in Europe. Yes the new Carminat TomTom ZE Live is launching in Europe for now in the Renault Fluence ZE.
Pretty interesting stuff..... full press release after the jump.
TomTom has unleashed a bit of a wonder child in their new TomTom 1535 GO LIVE product - a connected GPS with built in HD Traffic (updates every 2 minutes), and several useful connected services including: Yelp, Google Local Search (not really new), Trip Advisor, Expedia and Twitter. Yes, your GPS just got social.... don't know if it needed to be but it is.
Kidding aside, the data presented can help travelers in unfamiliar areas by beefing up the user reviews depth of knowledge for restaurants and other travel destinations through the connected services offered here. It's a lot easier to rely on a fresh set of user reviews and associated data on a place of interest to decide it you want to go there than on a simple POI entry that may or may not be up to date depending on the last time you updated your maps.... that's old school and not in a good way.
TomTom is clearly trying to get a connected platform that serve the traveler well, with these new connected Apps, and the old standbys like Gas Prices, and weather forecasts.
“By giving people the most up-to-date traffic details as well as relevant local content provided by travel apps, TomTom is bringing a new level of connectivity to drivers by providing information in the most effective platform available,” said Tim Roper, president of TomTom, Inc. “We are excited to expand TomTom HD Traffic services onto our new range of connected devices at a more affordable price, as it can dramatically reduce time spent in traffic for our customers.”
Yelp search with ratings and a click through for reviews.
The new TomTom Go Live 1535M will be available with US. Canada and Mexico maps, in a 5-inch screen, along with Bluetooth handsfree, Voice Recognition command entry and Advanced Lane Guidance. The TomTom GO LIVE 1535M will be available in October for MSRP of $249, with a 12-month LIVE services bundled into that price.
BTW - good news for TomTom GO LIVE 2535 users - you get an update this Fall with the new software capabilities!
File this under the "Whoops" category, TomTom unwittingly let their traffic data be used to find ideal locaitons for speed traps. The data is compiled from anonymous user data over time and layered to create live views of traffic congestion as well as historical speeds on roads by time of day so that they can predict more accurate travel times when you plug in a destination. They know what you know that traveling down that highway takes a lot longer during rush hour than it does on the weekend, let's say.
Well it appears that their data was sold to some traffic planners, and somehow along the way it was used to determine where a good spot might be to nab a few speeders.
TomTom has tripped over themselves trying to reassure the public of a few very basic things:
All users opt into the Data Collection aspect of the TomTom service.
The police can't trace speeding GPS tracks back to a particular user - the data is collected anonymously.
If you have a LIVE connected GPS, the same thing goes for you; anonymous data collection.
TomTom didn't sell the data directly to the police, and will take steps in the future to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Nike and TomTom have collaborated to bring the Nike+ Sportwatch that is GPS enabled; giving fans of the Nike+ franchise new way to train and document their workouts. Nike has worked to enable training for pros and weekend warriors alike, and htis watch comes with some innovations that may just help users train more and achieve their goals. on top of that; it looks prety cool.
So not only will the NIKE+ Sportwatch with GPS track the details of your run, but it will upload them automatically to the NIKEPLUS.com database for you automatically logging your run in any of the challenges or programs that you are participating in. The watch will give you some attaboys for personal bests and also nag you if you haven't logged a run in the last five days - ouch!
It already won a CES award for innovation as the screen serves as a "button" where you can tap it to activate the backlight and get more information.
I like the readout on the map showing where you pace was best and worst when you view the data in your post-workout analysis (See the video). It's a feature that they also have in their iPhone App - NIKE+ GPS App
The watch will be available in the US & UK by April 1, with a broader global rollout for later in the year. No word currently on Price.
TomTom announced their new super slim Via line that gives solid new navigation in a great package, offering an updated software platform and advanced features like voice recognition and Bluetooth Handsfree calling. The 1400 series are 4.3-inch screen size models while the 1500 series are a 5-inch screen models; making a strong departure from the all-but-dead 3.5-inch screen sized models that we used to call "standard". A combination of factors made 2010 the last year that we should see significant numbers of new models in the smaller harder to use screen size.
All models come with the TomTom EasyPort mount, but split the lines with two finishes; a black for the lower end 1405 and 1505, while adding an aluminum finish to the higher end 1435 and 1505.
TomTom indicates that these will be available with Lifetime map upgrades and lifetime traffic as upgrades.
Available by mid-2011 and at prices starting at $169. I would expect the line to top out at about the low to mid-$200's.
TomTom announced the new TomTom GO 2505 M LIVE device today that includes for the first time in the US their HD Traffic capability. The LIVE services require a subscription and will be delivered over the AT&T data network. They include the HD Traffic, weather, Fuel Prices and Local Search by Google. The GO 2505 will include Voice Recognition for easy use while driving, and handsfree Bluetooth capabilities. The Multi-touch screen offers an easy to use, iPhone-like experience that is starting to become more and more common with computing devices.
The TomTom GO 2505 M LIVE will be available with its lifetime Map upgrades included by mid-2011 and will list for $349.
The new TomTom App update hit the iTunes store today that includes two key items in the release. The first is an updated map set for the iPhone App - a nice thing to have every now and then because as TomTom claims, 15% of roads change every year. The second big item is the addition of MapShare to the iPhone App.
Notification on the iPhone App when there are Map Updates available for you.
TomTom has had a steady stream of updates coming since the launch of their iPhone App. You can see my Original Review of the TomTom App Version 1.2 update. TomTom added Traffic support with version 1.3, and then offered iPhone 4 compatibility (multi-tasking and background operation) to version 1.5.
Download the TomTom App now in the iTunes store. There are several varieties with different base maps; US only ($39), US+Canada ($49), US & Mexico ($49) and Western Europe ($75). All are at different price points, and are on sale for the Christmas holiday.