July 16, 2008

TomTom TV Spot - Fancy Little Gizmo

I don't know about you, but I love driving around with a fancy little gizmo GPS on my windshield, and having the ability to get from here to there with no worries. The look in people's eyes when you just ask for the address and leave them to explain the long direction set to others is priceless.

This is the new TomTom spot - remember - Go Confidently.

Via Club TomTom

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 11, 2008

TomTom Maps - Update now for 30% off

TomTom is running a discount for those of you who want to update your maps; up to 30% off the update. You can head over to TomTom.com, or use your TomTom HOME application on your PC to update the maps. Not a bad idea if they are over a year old.

At TomTom or download and use the TomTom HOME application to get your maps.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 8, 2008

GPS Arkon Friction Mount Review

For a lot of people mounting a GPS on a windshield is not legal (CA & MN), or just not desirable which leaves them either sticking an adhesive disk on the dashboard, or investigating the idea of an alternative mount like a friction or vent mount. I got in a friction mount and a vent mount with various connectors recently for a review of how they do on my dash and how they hold up. The company is Arkon, and they make a dizzying array of mount styles with some great capabilities.

Friction Mount
This Arkon Weighted Friction Mount has a flat front that allows you to use your stock suction cup mount from makers like Garmin, TomTom and others that have some pretty small, minimalistic mounts. The mount has plenty of heft and sits firmly on the Dash through a normal week of driving. It's a pretty confidence inspiring mount and while it may not stand up on the NASCAR track pulling a few G's it performed well in my normal driving through traffic, around town and on the highway. Just in case you decide to take the fourth turn at Daytona, you'll keep things steady with the little safety loop on the back of the mount that allows you to put it around the adhesive hook (included) that you can fasten to the dash. Its base is about an inch wide, is pretty unobtrusive, and doesn't scream - "Steal the GPS under the Seat" like a regular adhesive disk might. The Hook is a bummer if you wanted a clean dash. To be clear in my time driving I didn't bother with the hook and the mount didn't move at all, even with a Dash Express suction cupped to it.

FrictionMountTomTomXL.jpgI was able to use factory mounts on the friction base as well as Arkon mounts made specifically for TomTom and for Garmin. The factory mounts were a bit slimmer and smaller, while the Arkon adapters had some more length to them and added the ability to adjust to different heights and lengths.

PDA/Phone Mount - I was also supplied with a mount for a PDA/Phone; which comes in customized styles. I had the generic, which fit my iPhone well, and when it comes time to navigate with the iPhone 3G, the Arkon mount should help.
iphonemountrelease.jpgThe mount has configurable bottom "feet" to hold the bottom of the phone so you can slide them back and forth to get plugs into the bottom of the phone. The sidewalls slide in and out and have a soft rubberized interior to cushion your phone. A quick pinch of the sidewalls keeps the mount snug on the phone, while a touch of a button on the side of the mount allows the sidewalls to pop out and release your phone. Simple and fast.

Vent Clip
VentClipNuviMount.jpgGarmin Nuvi Vent Clip - The Garmin Nuvi Vent Clip is a very discreet option for mounting a GPS; allowing you to pop the GPS on and off while leaving the mount right there on the vent. Small and almost invisible, hardly any thief would guess that there is a GPS prize associated with your car. After enlisting friends to try the mount, on the four cars I fitted the mount to, we were pretty happy with the performance. The little clips that snap into the louvers and attach to the mount swivel to accept louvers that are either vertical or horizontal. I would recommend using both hands to remove the Nuvi from the mount instead of just indiscriminately ripping the thing off that may just pull a louver with it depending on the shape of your ride. Using both hands, made the removal quick and easy. Reception was not affected and having the unit closer to me made for easy programming. I also tried this out on the vent to the left of the steering wheel which makes for another very desirable mounting option for lefties.

At Arkon

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

July 7, 2008

TomTom GO 930 Full Review


The TomTom 930 is the new top of the line TomTom that is starting to gain some steam these days in the stores. TomTom has folded in Historical Average Speeds into the GO 930 to make the unit more accurate in setting travel times, especially when traffic is concerned. While TomTom's map supplier, TeleAtlas is teamed up with Inrix, and has the ability to fold their traffic speed data into the Map offering, TomTom went out and grabbed their own historical average speeds from users like you and me. If you agreed to submit anonymous user data when you sync'd your TomTom to TomTom HOME, you sent up some data that presumably included some road speed data; including traffic hot spots and slow downs. We will see how broad the coverage is and how it affects our usage of the unit.

Other than the TomTom IQ Routes, the unit offers "Lane Guidance" which shows you what lane to be in when the going gets tough on the highways.

The TomTom 930 still encompasses a lot of features that were rolled into the GO 930, including membership to the MapShare community, a Map guarantee for up to date maps for the first 12 months that you own the device, enhanced positioning that helps to track your position through an accelerometer when you enter tunnels, Bluetooth Handsfree and voice address input.

ArrowContinue reading: "TomTom GO 930 Full Review"

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

June 19, 2008

GPS - Safer, More Confident, Less Stressed Drivers

TomTom announced some findings from a study done by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and Dutch research institute TNO saying that drivers felt more confident, less stressed and safer when using a GPS. It's no surprise here at the GPS Lodge when you think about all the places you can go and all of the things you can do when you let the GPS get you to where you want to go.

For me, a few prerequisites of feeling safer, more confident and less stressed is:

  1. Get a Good Quality GPS that has an easy interface to learn - this means skip the bargain bin. I also recommend Text to Speech if you are driving around town with the unit - it helps your recognition of which street you need to turn onto.
  2. Drive around your own town using the GPS to navigate to work, the gas station, and home again - you get used to how it works and what to expect. You'll be familiar with it when you hit the road and really need it.
  3. Check on the Route Overview before navigating - almost all units have an overview of the route. Before driving, you'll know in general terms which way you are going so there won't be any surprises.
  4. Know the settings - "Set it and Forget it" Don't decide while you are driving down the highway that you want a different color scheme or a new voice on the GPS. Make sure the settings are how you like them and simply navigate when you need to.
  5. Finally, don't be an idiot - This means no playing with the picture viewer showing off those pictures to your friends while driving down the highway.

The Full Information on the study follows.......

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 13, 2008

TomTom to Share the MapShare


TomTom said that they will be sharing the information gathered through their MapShare program when customers of TeleAtlas get map updates later this year. Having just closed the deal on TeleAtlas this news comes as a signal that TomTom is committed to keeping TeleAtlas as a competitive mapmaker in the marketplace.

Of course before this deal was announced TomTom was indicating that this data was proprietary and would most likely not be shared with their map provider but a few months later things all changed with the bidding war that ensued for the purchase of TeleAtlas vs. Garmin.

The updates, upwards to 20 million of them, have come from users of the TomTom devices who input map changes right on the device that are then uploaded and verified by TomTom.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 12, 2008

TomTom Gas Price Service - Cheaper Gas at your Fingertips


Quick article in the Baltimore Sun today about the Gas service on the TomTom 930 - which is also available on the TomTom 720/920. The TomTom gas service is available to purchase for $15 per year, and you can sign up through TomTom HOME when on your desktop computer. This columnist plugged his TomTom into the computer to download gas prices and took them with him. They are also available over the air when you have a compatible phone and data plan. I think the article is a good read for anyone who wants to go after the Fuel Prices service from TomTom. I can't see me being diligent enough to connect my GPS to the computer to download prices, so I would need to have a compatible phone; over the air is probably the way to go.

The Sun found that there were a few stations that were very much out of date, which is too bad. I have seen using the Dash Express that there is a lag, but it is noted next to the price, so you can use that as a gauge of how trustworthy the data is. With that type of feature, I think that the service is helpful and can save a bit when searching for decent gas prices.

ReadMore at the Baltimore Sun

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 27, 2008

TomTom ONE 130 - $149 at Amazon


TomTom's newest ONE is the ONE 130, that serves up entry level features with a good routing and feature package all for a nice $149 price; a $50 price drop. With the addition of the Easy Port suction cup, the unit is thin, highly portable and very functional. The EasyPort folds up snugly to the back of the TomTom making the whole thing easy to stow in a purse or briefcase.

The list price is $199, but the unit is going for $149 now. Unfortunately the TomTom ONE 130S, which is the Text to Speech version is not discounted, as it is still $249.

At Amazon TomTom ONE 130

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 14, 2008

TomTom/TeleAtlas Deal gets Euro OK


The European Union gave clearance of the TomTom TeleAtlas deal which paves the way for the merger to move forward; the US gave its OK last year.

"The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition," an European Union executive said in a statement.

TomTom and Tele Atlas issued a joint release on the subject saying:

"The ruling of the EC is the best possible outcome for TomTom and Tele Atlas allowing the new combination to go ahead with the full execution of its strategy."

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 8, 2008

TomTom RIDER 2 - Juiced up and Enhanced


TomTom announced a new enhanced TomTom RIDER2 that updates the unit with some of the best features of the other TomTom devices while adding to the cache of motorcycle driven features to bolster its appeal. The newly enhanced RIDER allows updates through MapShare, offers the latest Map guarantee, adds the Help Me! capability to the menu, trip stats features, and a nice itinerary planning and sharing ability to help people create and manage custom POI sets and itineraries.

Press release after the jump...

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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