TomTom GPS navigation line-up for 2012

TomTom earlier this month introduced three new lines to their products. These are TomTom START, TomTom VIA, and TomTom GO LIVE.

Here’s the summary really:

TomTom START: Pretty basic, budget devices that get the job done.

  • Lifetime traffic and map updates
  • Speaks street names
  • Fuel prices

TomTom VIA: Have more money to spend? Get this. Add these features to above

  • bluetooth hands free calling
  • voice recognition
  • better graphics
  • slim design and TomTom’s famous mount

TomTom GO LIVE: Connected high-end product. Add these features:

  • HD Traffic
  • Live services
  • Capacitive touch screen
  • Travel apps

TomTom app updated for iPhone and optimized for iPad

TomTom app was just updated. It is now higher resolution and is accompanied by an improved user interface for the iPad. This is the first release where TomTom is taking advantage of the capabilities iPad’s larger screen size. This marks version 1.9 and is a free update. It of course works with the new iOS5.

The maps and POIs are also updated and available off line with no data connection. The app costs $50 but like we said it is free to upgrade if you already own it. Some other features include the HD Traffic, IQ Routes for reliable ETA’s, integration with contacts, photos, music, email on your phone and ability to make receive calls while on your iPhone.

TomTom real time traffic expands

TomTom just expanded its coverage of real time traffic information to Australia, Canada, Luxembourg and Poland which brings the total to 18 countries around the world. The traffic updates from TomTom can be used as a standalone monitor for conditions on the roadway or it can be integrated in other navigation solution systems.

The list of the 18 countries where real time traffic updates are available: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

More countries will be added to this list before the end of 2011 and into 2012.

TomTom making GPS navigation deals in Europe - helps with range anxiety

TomTom is in negotiations with Renault, Fiat, and Mazda to drive their in-dash GPS navigation system sales. An integrated system with Mazda was already shipped this summer and they have an offering with Renault to provide TomTom systems for about 500 Euros. This push helped TomTom with market share which rose to 17% from 10% within the last year.

TomTom also recently announced that its in-dash GPS navigation system will be available Fluence Z.E. electric car. They called it the Carminat TomTom Z.E. and supposed to provide a very accurate estimate of your batteries’ range to help with the dead-battery anxiety some drivers are plagued with.

The navigation system is actually directly connected to the car battery and when a route to destination is mapped, the driving range of the car is overlaid with the driving route. Of course the navigation system also knows about the location of all charging stations which add up to 5000 locations around Europe.

Here are some of the other features of the Carminat TomTom Z.E.

  • Electric vehicle routing with charge stations, and integration with battery
  • Eco-routing
  • Shows available range on the map and display
  • Updates of charge stations
  • HD Traffic
  • Local Search with TomTom Places and Google
  • Weather
  • Safety camera alerts
  • Advanced Lane Guidance

new TomTom voice: Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson

UK show Top Gear‘s host Jeremy Clarkson has agreed to work with TomTom to do voice for their latest GPS navigation system. TomTom is Europe’s biggest sat nav provider and they’re trying to cash in on this highly popular TV show watched by almost 10 million people.

Clarkson won’t be telling the drivers to use the hand brake while making 90 degree turns at 50mph - he just uses his authoritative tone of voice to get what he wants. Clarkson said it won’t be the usual kind and forgiving voice people are used to.

TomTom Go Live 1535M is really connected

TomTom just announced a social media enabled GPS navigation device called TomTom Go Live 1535M. This is possibly one of the most connected standalone GPS device out there so far. Take the Twitter app for example which lets the driver to tweet their location with ETA (estimated time of arrival) for his/her followers. The connected services - which are provided through AT&T are free for the first year and include Google Local Search, weather forecasts, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and also Expedia. After the first year the connected services will cost $60/year. Speaking of pricing, the device itself will set you back $250 when it comes out in October.

Some other features and hardware specs for the TomTom Go Live 1535M include the 5″ touchscreen display, bluetooth hands free calling, text-to-speech, voice recognition, land guidance, lifetime map updates, and the TomTom HD traffic.

TomTom forecast not too great

Dutch TomTom recently posted a Q2 net loss of 489 million euros. TomTom has been struggling for months to offset declining demand for GPS navigation devices. Couple of weeks ago TomTom said the decrease demand for global PND market will be at around 15-20% as consumers start using free services on their smartphones.

To cope with slow sales TomTom increased its range to include an iPhone app, expanded its service offerings to include live traffic and mapping data, and even got into commercial fleet management services. They’re also working with auto manufacturers to have their units built into dashboards. However 2/3 of their sales still come from consumer GPS navigation devices…

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GPS in death valley - not a good plan

Unless it is TomTom of course. Apparently most GPS navigation systems screw up big time around California’s Death Valley and it’s been an issue for quite some time. Drivers get lost, get stranded and worst of all, even die.

One of the rangers took the matter into his hands and worked together with TomTom to iron things out:

That’s when he got in touch with Matt Rinaldi. He helps maintain road data for TomTom. Together, they combed through the company’s maps and changed or deleted more than 150 roads in Death Valley.

It’s a little story from NPR.

TomTom going OEM in the U.S. with Fiat 500

Earlier this month TomTom announced that they’d be integrating their GPS navigation system into the new Fiat 500 in North America. With the full integration the TomTom GPS navigation system can provide low fuel warnings, synchronization of settings, ability to control the unit with steering wheel buttons, dead reckoning, and ability to display the media being played. With Blue&Me TomTom users can get instant and continuous routing, enhanced voice-control and commands, expanded driving view on a 4.3″ glass touch screen, text-to-speech, lane guidance, Quick GPSfix feature.

The integrated TomTom’s will be ready for 2012 Fiat 500 though it will still be portable letting you use it in another vehicle if needed.

how can TomTom stay in business?

Electricpig has a nice article about TomTom’s challenge to stay in business when GPS navigation and driving directions are free services offered by Google for those who have a decent smartphone.

The article talks about how TomTom is changing the conversation from driving directions to stress and traffic free guidance thanks to millions of TomTom users on the road.

“We think there is a viable way to reduce traffic congestion…there’s a real difference with that’s available today…You can really have a proper load balancing of congestion if you know the speeds on all the roads.”

TomTom estimates that with ten percent of people using HD traffic in an area, there is a perceivable “collective effect”, with roads flowing more smoothly.