June 24, 2010

TomTom Map Updates - Latest Updates Plus Six Months Free

TomTom has a pretty good deal going on right now for map updates. You could elect to buy one map update to get the update for your GPS, or you could subscribe to a year's worth of upgrade service for less. Oh, yea, they'll throw in an extra six months of service for free too. the price difference is a decent one versus the one-time upgrade offer - see the graphic below. This deal is also pretty good, as you start to add it all up. The offer is good on one device.   
From TomTom: How does it work?1) Each time you connect your device to your computer, TomTom HOME will let you know if a new map is waiting for you.2) New maps are released each quarter and are added to your account as soon as they are available. Warning - Map Update Service starts with the latest map, so you may have to upgrade your map at a discounted price
Read more at TomTom Map Update Service

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May 11, 2010

TomTom Super Wide Screened XXL 550 Series - 550, 550T, 550M, 550TM


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TomTom has put out a line of super-widescreen units - five inch diagonal screen size. It offers a way to get plenty of real estate for those who need it or who are piloting an RV down the road when the GPS is about a yard from the driver.

The series offers the features that make sense with some choices to be made for you to customize what you may value. The main features fro the series are, maps of North America (Canada, United States and Mexico), their new Easy Menu (a simple Map or Where to type splash screen), and Advanced Lane Guidance - a simple way to understand what lane you need to be in for your upcoming turn on major roadways.

Additional Features on the TomTom 550 Series

All have text to speech - they say road names, have a 5-inch screen, and TomTom's Map Share feature which offers you the user the ability to make map edits and share with the broader TomTom community. The units feature over 7 million Points of Interest.

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TomTom XL 350 Series - 350, 350T, 350M, and 350TM

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TomTom has a new workhorse widescreen in the TomTom 350 series navigators. The series offers the features that make sense with some choices to be made for you to customize what you may value. The main features fro the series are, maps of North America (Canada, United States and Mexico), their new Easy Menu (a simple Map or Where to type splash screen), and Advanced Lane Guidance - a simple way to understand what lane you need to be in for your upcoming turn on major roadways.

Additional Features on the TomTom 350 Series

All have text to speech - they say road names, have a 4.3-inch screen, and TomTom's Map Share feature which offers you the user the ability to make map edits and share with the broader TomTom community. The units feature over 7 million Points of Interest.

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May 5, 2010

Darth Vader; Star Wars Voices for the TomTom


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TomTom announced that a new and more powerful set of voices are coming to your TomTom; the Star Wars set. The Darth Vader voice is available, for about $13, and it sounds pretty cool from the sample sound clips. "Turn around when possible, your lack of faith is disturbing....". Very Vader. C3P0 is coming soon; high on the annoying meter with this one. Yoda and Han Solo later this year.

Check out the Vader voice samples, then get free content like a Darth Vader start-up image (shown above) and a few free sound bites from Vader if you have a X40 or X50 model.

More at TomTom

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April 22, 2010

Traffic Jams Drive the Most Polluting Roads in America

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TomTom and their TeleAtlas group just released a study that tied traffic jams to air pollution, to reveal the top polluting roadways in America. Sorry California, you're taking most of the top spots. The very obvious reality is that when you sit in traffic, you waste gas in the start and stop mode of inching down the highway. TomTom has a feedback mechanism in many of its GPS devices that allow it to gather anonymous data from your trips that reveal roads traveled and average speeds across those road segments. With a pile of data across millions of GPS devices they can create the historical profile of speeds on the road. Slow speed equates to more emissions.

So the study didn't appear to take into account any effect of a greener automobile fleet (there has to be more hybrids per capita in California), but I can't imagine that it can overcome the overwhelming mass of humanity that travel the highways in California.

It's Earth Day; how can you help?


  • The obvious thing is to either get a more efficient car, or skip the car ride; take the train, work from home a day a week, carpool, or ride a bike.

  • Avoid the traffic with a traffic enabled GPS. You could always time shift your commute, but that will only get you so far. Sometimes a traffic enabled GPS can alert you to the worst jams and offer a way around. I recommend a connected device that relies on anything but FM/RDS signals. You need secondary road coverage that the higher bandwidth offers in connected devices (mobile phone, "connected" GPS).

  • Use a regular GPS - studies have shown that using a GPS devices can save you time and money on the road by keeping you from getting lost. It's really pretty simple, but across millions of cars, it can make a difference.


The full information from TomTom is below after the jump and they list off the roadways and the methodology. Pretty interesting. Assuming that they mean I-93 south of Boston, I am not reassured that my commute is on their list. I think I am going to take the commuter rail today..... Update: Found out that the stretch in Mass is north of town Randolph to Reading. Good for me; the train is was great.


ArrowContinue reading: "Traffic Jams Drive the Most Polluting Roads in America"

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April 19, 2010

TomTom GO 730 - Deal of the Day - $149

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The Widescreen, Bluetooth handsfree enabled TomTom GO 730 is a Deal of the Day at Amazon. the TomTom GO 730 comes with Maps of the US and Canada, IQ routes to help better estimate real travel times across busy roads (not realtime traffic), and Advanced Lane Assist to give you a better view of difficult highway intersections.

Of course it comes MapShare enabled so you can personally update any map errors that you see and share them with the TomTom community, and Text to Speech so you can clearly hear the road names that you need to turn onto.

The TomTom GO 730 is regularly about $200, save about $50.

At Amazon - Deal of the Day - TomTom GO 730

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April 5, 2010

TomTom Lifetime T and M Shuffle

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TomTom recently announced lifetime map and traffic subscriptions. If you thought that they were going to be available just as an afterthought, you were wrong - they are now going to find their way into the product line as distinct items (SKU's) offering a bit of a dizzying array of products for purchase. The good thing is that decoding the TomTom Traffic and Map Shuffle is pretty straight forward.
  • Base product - No Lifetime maps or traffic
  • Base product +"T" - Lifetime RDS Traffic Service
  • Base Product + "M" - Lifetime Map upgrades
  • Base Product + TM" - Lifetime Traffic Service and Map upgrades

What's this mean in real world terms? It means a lot of products available for purchase (TomTom Traffic and Map Units Available for Pre-Order -late April for shipment).

  • TomTom XL 335 S - 4.3-inch widescreen plus maps of the US and Canada and Text to Speech - $159
  • TomTom XL 335T - Adds Lifetime Traffic Service - $189
  • TomTom 335M - Adds Lifetime Maps - $189
  • TomTom 335TM - Adds both - $219
  • TomTom XL 340S - Same as XL 335 but adds maps of Mexico - $125 - buy it now
  • TomTom XL 340T - Adds Lifetime Traffic Service - $199
  • TomTom XL 340M - Adds Lifetime Maps - $199
  • TomTom XL 340TM - Adds both - $229


Add TomTom LIVE services.


  • TomTom XL 340M LIVE - Same as XL 340 but adds LIVE Services and Lifetime Maps - $229

  • TomTom XL 340TM LIVE - Adds both - $259

Move up to the 5-inch screen unit.


  • TomTom XL 540T - a 5-inch screen and has Lifetime Traffic Service - $229

  • TomTom XL 540M - Adds Lifetime Maps - $229

  • TomTom XL 540TM - Adds both - $259

  • TomTom XL 540TM World Traveler - Adds European Maps - $299

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March 30, 2010

TomTom Lifetime Maps And Traffic Updates

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TomTom announced a Lifetime map upgrade program that will allow you to purchase not only the GPS, but a lifetime of updates too. The updates come in the form of downloads to your computer onto the TomTom Home application; which then updates the device. According to TomTom, "The road network changes on average 18 percent annually, so they are continually refreshed to include improvements across the entire road network and updates to Points of Interest."

TomTom also has a lifetime traffic update model, that allows select units to get up to the minute traffic updates for the useful lifetime of the device.

TomTom XL and TomTom XXL product lines are now available with Lifetime Map Updates, Lifetime Traffic Updates or a combination of these features. Pricing starts at $199.95 MSRP and varies by model.

Full Press Release Available After the Jump......

ArrowContinue reading: "TomTom Lifetime Maps And Traffic Updates"

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March 25, 2010

TomTom Ease Review

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The TomTom Ease is the newest TomTom on the entry level end of the market, and I reviewed the unit here at GPSLodge last month. PCMag has posted their review on the TomTom Ease and they offer some insight into what they think of the Ease, pointing out the Text to Speech capability and the fact that it comes with the benefits of being a TomTom - IQ Routes, MapShare and a solid mapping database under the hood. They did have some issues with routing while driving down the Mass Pike, and some of the shortcuts TomTom took to get to the simple design and low price. Ultimately, they recommend looking for older units still on the market with low prices as a suitable alternative to the Ease.

I think it's a fair recommendation as long as you get Text to Speech, but also think that the TomTom Ease will become the well thought of, sub-$100 unit that you see on a regular basis featured at eye poppingly low prices. Not now, but it will.

Read my Review of the TomTom Ease

Read the PC Mag Review of the TomTom Ease

Comparison shop the TomTom Ease
versus its bigger and better brother, the TomTom ONE 140S (Adds Lane Guidance and more Points of Interest) and the Garmin Nuvi 255
.

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March 18, 2010

TomTom Reporting Average Speed Limits

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Flexing their muscles on data acquisition, TomTom was cited in the Wall St Journal in reference to average speed limits on highways state by state. So while the article is interesting in that most states have average speeds a lot higher than 55MPH, and many states have raised the legal speed limit either as a forethought or in reaction to the reality, I think that the cool GPS story here is that TomTom is starting to think of themselves as a data collection and analysis company. These types of studies and data citations usually indicate that the company is sitting on some cool stuff, and that they feel it's worth sharing to further a strategic vision. Now comes the guessing game of what that vision is....

Since TomTom has announced their crowd sourced traffic in the US, through the advent of their iPhone App that offers anonymous tracking for data collection purposes, TomTom is starting to gather steam behind the idea that not only getting from point A to point B is important, but doing so in a smart fashion based on empirical data is where this category is going. I happen to agree.

More at Wall St Journal

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