July 23, 2007

TomTom to Buy TeleAtlas; $2.8 Billion


WOW; in a pretty amazing move, TomTom has apparently made a bid for TeleAtlas, the big map data provider. The offer is for about $2.77 billion (USD), which is a 28% premium over the TeleAtlas stock price close on Friday.

What does this mean for the rest of the world's GPS makers who use TeleAtlas data? Well, you wouldn't pay all that money and then cut off a lot of your customers, one would think, right?

One thing that is starting to take shape is that the TeleAtlas van isn't needed for basic map making anymore. As we start to get programs like MapShare, and GPS units that can communicate back to servers, the GPS units do the mapmaking for the company.

When I was at TomTom last month I asked President Jocelyn Vigreux about MapShare and if the information learned about roads would be shared back with TeleAtlas. Now, that really doesn't matter anymore does it; they should be one company in the future.

My conclusion here is that with a tightening of the Map Data set to GPS Navigation system bond, we'll see better innovation coming out of the TomTom shop as this relationship matures.

Commenting on the proposed Offer, Harold Goddijn, Chief Executive Officer of TomTom said: “We think that the navigation industry is going to change dramatically in the next few years as end customers will give ever increasing importance to intelligent routing and continuously updated maps. By integrating customer feedback into the Tele Atlas map manufacturing process, we will be able to considerably enhance the user experience and further increase all Tele Atlas and all TomTom's customers' satisfaction. We will supply all companies wanting to rely on the improved maps for their PNDs, wireless handsets, in-car systems, internet services and in-house routing services.”

Update: There is a well written article over at Business Week that explores this deal, and discusses amoung other things: Mio/Mitac's reaction to the deal; they buy their maps from TeleAtlas, and are the #3 GPS manufacturer in the world, as well as Garmin's interest or ability to buy NAVTEQ. Check it out.

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

July 19, 2007

TomTom GO 920 - Advanced Traffic Reporting


The GO 920 should have a the same form factor as the GO 720 (above).

UPDATE: The TomTom 920 and 920T have been officially announced. While they do not have advanced traffic capabilities as speculated here they do have some pretty cool features and TMC traffic capability.
OK I've been sitting on this for a while, but with yesterday's announcement by Inrix, I have to let this one fly.... My guess is that TomTom is readying their new TomTom GO 920 to be an advanced traffic enabled GPS that will hit the market this Fall, which will include GPRS, TMC, and/or HD Radio traffic reporting capabilities as well historical average speed data from Inrix.

This will not be the only unit in the marketplace like this, as I believe that Garmin is working on a similar device that I already speculated would be something like the Nuvi 700 or maybe even the Nuvi 690. It too would use historical average speeds to create a different class of GPS units, and bring the next level of innovation to the market.

Why the TomTom GO 920? See after the jump...

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

July 18, 2007

TomTom ONE XL Review


PCMag has published their review of the TomTom ONE XL. They gave it an overall “Good” rating and noted that it lacked text-to-speech (TTS) capability, which is reserved for their higher end units. The TomTom ONE XL is their basic device in the now more popular widescreen package. PC Mag found that it did a good job routing to desired locations, and came with the familiar TomTom interface that has become more popular in the US market.

I have reviewed the TomTom ONE XL, and agreed with everything Craig Ellison said here in his article for PC Mag. I think that the TomTom ONE XL is a solid unit, and with the newest version of the TeleAtlas maps, a lot of those nasty kinks are worked out. The $399 price point is a tough one to beat for a widescreen unit. PC Mag smartly compares the TomTom ONE XL to the Mio C520. I already reviewed the TomTom ONE XL and my Mio C520 review is just around the corner.

ReadMore on the review at PCMag

More on the TomTom ONE XL here at GPSLodge

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

July 13, 2007

TomTom to enter China Market


TomTom is rumored to be starting a move into the GPS market in China. DigiTimes is reporting that they are going to start marketing a line of GPS products there by the end of the year. So while there are over a billion people there who's monthly salary wouldn't even buy a TomTom ONE, there are millions there who make a western level wage.

Garmin and Mio are already in the market, the growing number of cars and the growing number of lost drivers should help create a healthy navigation market there.

via DigiTimes

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

July 6, 2007

TomTom MapShare – Clearing up the Confusion


TomTom announced that they are going to bring the new TomTom GO 720 to market with a program called MapShare. This program, or rather system is a connection of GPS based features to other TomTom users so that users can collaborate to improve maps. Those improvements will only create a better experience if there are safeguards in place to keep malicious users from ruining your maps. I think that TomTom is taking a cautious approach to this and know that they have a check and verify system in place.

  • Complete Information on the TomTom GO 720 here at GPSLodge.com

    More after the jump...

    ArrowContinue reading: "TomTom MapShare – Clearing up the Confusion"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking
  • June 26, 2007

    TomTom Enhances Traffic Capabilities


    TomTom is going to start working with Vodafone in the UK do a better job of predicting travel times, not not time travel, but travel times. The deal lets TomTom access anonymous mobile phone traffic that with a little computer work tells you what traffic is doing on UK roads and thus help derive the true travel time considering traffic.

    This is just another indication that traffic tracking and implementation of traffic solutions on your GPS is heading our way. I've written pretty extensively about traffic capabilities for over a year, and I expect some big product announcements even in the US this year, including GPS units that have historical average speeds for major US roadways.

    Press Release Follows...

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

    June 21, 2007

    TomTom GO 720 Preview & First Impressions


    Update: See my Full Review of the TomTom GO 720

    On my recent trip to TomTom, I was able to play with the new TomTom GO 720 and wanted to give you my first impressions. The TomTom GO 720 was recently announced, and while it’s not yet available to the public, it will be by the end of July/Early August. I think there are a couple of things going on with the TomTom GO 720 that are worth noting. Gone is the big form factor; thin is in. The big news item that was associated with the TomTom GO 720 release was the MapShare program which should allow users to have some limited input initially on the maps, allowing you to input on the correctness of the maps and share those corrections with others.

    The TomTom GO 720 is not just about MapShare, or its slim form factor. It's got a lot more.

  • Complete Information on the TomTom GO 720 here at GPSLodge.com

    ArrowContinue reading: "TomTom GO 720 Preview & First Impressions"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking
  • GPS Lodge Visits TomTom


    GPS Lodge along with several other bloggers visited TomTom's call center in Watertown NY for a full day's fun of playing with the New TomTom GO 720 (see my First Impressions Post), playing in a TeleAtlas mapping van and an overall GPS-geekfest. The day was a good one, and we learned quite a bit about the world's largest automotive GPS manufacturer.

    The TomTom GO 720 looks to be a pretty innovative device and the MapShare program should set the stage for a new level of mapping accuracy, and competition for your dollar. Dash Navigation has continued to light up the GPS and gadget sites with its idea of a connected GPS, which would use its connectivity to improve the accuracy of maps among other things. Clearly TomTom saw the opportunity to drive this dissatisfier out of product line, and I expect that it will grow to become a robust program.

    The TeleAtlas van and its duties is nothing but amazing. More after the jump.

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

    TomTom Buys Horizon Patent Portfolio


    TomTom announced that it has acquired the entire world-wide patent portfolio of Horizon Navigation Inc. Horizon has been a leader in the design of vehicle navigation systems for eighteen years. It developed original equipment navigation solutions for General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Porsche, and Nissan. In addition, Horizon designed aftermarket products for Audiovox, Clarion, Dual and Cobra Electronics. The move is generally seen as a way to bolster its defensive position against key rival Garmin in the patent wars that are going on right now....

    ArrowContinue reading: "TomTom Buys Horizon Patent Portfolio"

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

    June 10, 2007

    TomTom ONE XL Full Review


    - A Hands on Review by GPSLodge -

    TomTom ONE XL - Recommended on my Father's Day GPS Buying Guide

    The TomTom ONE XL is the follow-up widescreen version of the successful second generation TomTom ONE that was launched last year. Since the TomTom ONE was launched, the GPS world has gone widescreen, and like I had predicted, the widescreen version of the flat form factor TomTom ONE was a sure-fire sequel. For those who are familiar with the TomTom interface, this won’t be a big change from what you’re used to. TomTom has captured the key elements of success in a widescreen version that give you just a bit more to love on the dash as you’re traveling to your destination.

    ArrowContinue reading: "TomTom ONE XL Full Review"

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

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