September 16, 2009

TomTom XXL 530S and XXL 540S

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TomTom has announced the extra large screen TomTom XXL 530S and XXL 540S - two 5-inch screened wonders in the TomTom line. The units features a ton of TomTom features including MapsShare, IQ Routes to give you optimal routing on roads, full maps of North America, and an easy folding EasyPort mount that offers quick on, quick off mounting with easy storage. The "S" means that the units both feature Text to Speech - they say road names.


The TomTom XXL-540S adds Advanced Lane Guidance - which is a little graphic that pops up when approaching a complex intersection (mainly on highways) that shows you what lane to be in. The unit adds Mexican maps, and includes a black finish.


UPDATE: The TomTom XXL 530S and the TomTom XXL 540S are available at Amazon

Full press release follows


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September 8, 2009

TomTom Announces OpenLR Initiative - Open Source Location Reference Technology


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TomTom has announced a new open source program that shrewdly puts them in the middle of the map and location based universe should the technology be widely adapted. As in all open source moves, you give and you get; enabling a wide array of capabilities based on a technology specification that you control, enable and eventually profit from. No it doesn't mean free maps, but instead the technology platform that they live upon so that location based data uses the same Location Referencing technology.
The technology allows "enables reliable data exchange and cross-referencing using digital maps of different vendors and versions", according to TomTom. Could be a big, bold program if key stakeholders jump on; clearly TomTom and TeleAtlas are there.

More at TomTom's site for OpenLR
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September 7, 2009

TomTom GO 550, 750, 950 LIVE Connected GPS

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TomTom announced the launch of the TomTom GO 550, 750 and 950 models that bring connected services to the entire line of GO units, further defining the future of the standalone GPS from TomTom. So, either everyone will want and buy high end devices that have connected services, making a step-change in the product line and future of Personal Navigation Devices, or TomTom just made their GO series structurally more expensive due to the inclusion of the cellular hardware and the associated trial of connected services. The eternal dreamer, I hope that people find the connected services compelling enough to drive adoption of the expanded capabilities.

The units are generally available with all kinds of gadgets and widgets that the top of the line would typically come with including Advanced Lane Guidance (images of which lane you need to be in - shown above), IQ Routes (calibrated expected speeds for better accuracy on arrival times), HD Traffic, Bluetooth Handsfree, and voice commands.

This is a European announcement, and I would expect a follow-up announcement about US pricing and availability. The GO 550 is a regional unit for a single Euro country, the GO 750 has Pan-Euro coverage and the GO 950 has European and North American coverage for maps as well as enhanced positioning technology that includes the ability to detect your location while you are in tunnels through an onboard accelerometer (Originally launched as EPT on the GO 920).

I expect that the US versions would have the appropriate maps - the GO 750 with North American maps and the GO 950 with North American and Euro maps. These should be available in time for the holiday buying season on both sides of the Atlantic.

Full Press Release Follows....

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August 17, 2009

TomTom iPhone Application on iTunes

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TomTom has released their iPhone application for North America, and from the description, the capabilities seem to cover the basics: IQ Routes - offers some historical perspective on what routes are faster given historical speeds (not just posted speed limits), call your Point of Interest from the phone, navigate to contact's addresses, and coverage for North America (Canada, US and Puerto Rico). Priced at $99, no word right now on the drivers kit that offers a mount with a speaker and a charger.

at itunes - TomTom US and Canada
icon (itunes Link)

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July 12, 2009

TomTom GO 740 LIVE Full Review

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The TomTom GO 740 LIVE marks the first entry to the US market of a connected service by TomTom, one of the top names in personal navigation devices, making a strong step into the next generation of devices with its access to better traffic alerts, Google Search, gas prices and more. At the base, the TomTom 740 is a fully functional navigation unit offering a top of the line approach to TomTom's version of features, **lane assist, Bluetooth handsfree capability, Help Me!, MapShare, and IQ Routes - a way of learning about travel times based on other people's read world experience.

With a strong base, the TomTom GO 740 LIVE adds on a nice set of features allowing the connected device to help make your commute easier, a search for a destination more straightforward and and overall more informed traveler when you decide to use the connected features as part of your planning process. The ability doesn't come free through, as the connected plan essentially has you paying about $10 per month for the connected services. Don't want to pay the fees? The GO 740 LIVE becomes a regular old GPS, that still allows you to navigate to an on-board set of POI's, with a strong feature set and solid navigation. If you are not in the market for the LIVE connected capabilities, look elsewhere, as there are cheaper ways even within the TomTom line to get a full complement of features without paying for the LIVE capabilities that TomTom includes. As I came into the testing of the TomTom GO 740 LIVE for this review, key in my mind were the question son how well do the connected features work, how are they integrated into the regular GPS navigation capabilities and the bottom line or is it all worth the extra $10 a month for the subscription.

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June 17, 2009

Homer Simpson Voice for TomTom GPS - Easy Download

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TomTom may have potentially the best voice ever on their GPS topping Mr. T with their launch of the Homer Simpson voice available for TomTom GPS units in the US and Europe. The easy download, lets you navigate to Homer's voice offering the keen guidance of TomTom combined with the combined fun of 20 years worth of Homer antics. Can't wait.

The download happens through TomTom Home, an easy to use desktop manager that will allow you to download to your computer and then upload the voice to your TomTom device. The Homer Simpson voice costs $12.95, and is available now. Hummm, I wonder if I can navigate to Moe's for a Duff?

Full Press Release Below......

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June 15, 2009

TomTom to Sell More Shares - Eliminate Debt

TomTom is selling more shares to raise about 100 Million Euros to help retire some of its debt which amounts to around 1.4Billion Euros stemming from its takeover of TeleAtlas for 2.9Billion Euros. the purchasers of the debt are Cyrte Investments a technology investment firm and Janvio Holding, an investor in TomTom already. Clearly TomTom needs to restructure it's debt and get more than a toe hold in the emerging markets beyond simple GPS navigation; mobile phone and services after the sale represent new areas for growth (traffic subscriptions, etc).

ReadMore at the WSJ

Thanks Jim for sending this in.

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June 9, 2009

TomTom for the iPhone - Coming Later This Summer

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Yesterday at Apple's developer conference, TomTom offered a glimpse into what is to come this summer for the iPhone; a fully operational iPhone navigation solution; powered mount, speaker, and classic TomTom navigation capabilities. No word if there are any plans to offer more sophisticated HD traffic, and connected services like gas price search capabilities.

The move, mirrored by Navigon, puts TomTom in the driver's seat for connected capabilities with their recent GO 740 LIVE launch, the TomTom XL LIVE launch in Europe and now the iPhone launch. It puts Garmin in a tough place with the now delayed launch of the Nuvifone that has them as a competitor to the iPhone. One has to wonder if they are going to support the iPhone or protect their investment in a competitive product and stay away from the iPhone letting the other big contenders fight for leadership in the iPhone platform.

I would expect that this application and customized mount to come at a steep price; a lot more than the $0.99 - $9.99 that people seem accustomed to for applications on the iPhone. More later this summer. More at TomTom




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June 6, 2009

TomTom ONE Pearl White Edition

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TomTom announced this week that they are adding a White Pearl TomTom to the stable of GPS offerings in the TomTom ONE line. The White Pearl edition is a Euro model for now, but includes lane guidance, a nice feature that is found elsewhere on higher end models. They have a Burgundy version out in the US (TomTom One 140 GPS Burgundy), and clearly have realized that the black and gun-metal grey are not the cool wanna be colors of the future. Remember when computers came in three shades of beige? They got with it, and soon you might even be able to get a custom color from their site for a few extra bucks.

Press Release below......


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May 20, 2009

TomTom XL LIVE for Europe

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TomTom, seeing money in the masses, is launching the TomTom XL LIVE into Europe - a mid-tier product with full access to the suite of LIVE connected capabilities; the key ones being traffic, gas prices and Google search. This follows a normal product strategy of launching at the top of the line and then cascading the capabilities downward. Let's hope that the unit arrives in the US soon. TomTom smartly realized the power of the Network effect when it launched the MapShare capability on the upper end of the line and then subsequently rolled it out to the entire fleet of TomTom units within a short period of time.

Interestingly, GPS Business News has a different spin on things that holds water - that TomTom sales of the LIVE units is below expectations and that only 30% of people wish to renew their LIVE subscriptions. A lower price point may help spur sales. With the current recession, it's easy to believe that sales are slower than anticipated at he high end of the product range.

I am testing out the TomTom GO 740 LIVE right now, and so far I am impressed with the traffic alert quality that uses other GO 740 LIVE devices as anonymous GPS probes that get figured into the traffic assessments to keep you as up to date as possible. Unlike the pioneering Dash; TomTom does not leave color coded breadcrumb trails to assure you that there are others out there like you driving with a connected device assessing traffic.

The TomTom XL LIVE will list for 249 GBP, which is is about $380USD; above the current street price of the GO 740 here. Hopefully there is room for them to bring it to the US in the pricing scheme.

Full Press Release Below......


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