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TomTom Releases iPhone Navigation App 289

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hit-the-road-tom dept.
andylim writes "Today TomTom released its long-awaited iPhone app that allows you to use your iPhone 3G and 3GS as a GPS navigation device. Recombu.com tested it out on video this morning and concluded that it works well but if you receive a call while you're driving then the app does cut out — it will restart once you've finished the conversation. The app costs £60 for the UK & Ireland version, £80 for western Europe, £45 for Australia and £60 for the US and Canada."
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TomTom Releases iPhone Navigation App

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  • What's the point? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:12AM (#29092205)

    This differs from the built-in Google Maps... how?

    There's no pitch here, just a claim that it adds a feature iPhones already had!

    • Re:What's the point? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:16AM (#29092279)
      Voice navigation is not in Google Maps. Also, I think many (but perhaps not most) would argue that it has better algorithms for determining the route to take. It also doesn't rely on having an Internet connection, since you're downloading the entire map with TomTom, so it would work even out in the boonies.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Enuratique (993250)

        Voice navigation is not in Google Maps. Also, I think many (but perhaps not most) would argue that it has better algorithms for determining the route to take. It also doesn't rely on having an Internet connection, since you're downloading the entire map with TomTom, so it would work even out in the boonies.

        Yes, all of this. Also, apparently the GPS chip inside the iPhone isn't "good enough" to do turn-by-turn navigation, so the cradle that TomTom sells has a chip inside it that is better suited. Now, this might be a big fat lie, since the app will work without the cradle albeit not as well if the marketing literature is to be believed.

        • Re:What's the point? (Score:4, Informative)

          by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Monday August 17, 2009 @12:12PM (#29093291)

          Yes, all of this. Also, apparently the GPS chip inside the iPhone isn't "good enough" to do turn-by-turn navigation, so the cradle that TomTom sells has a chip inside it that is better suited. Now, this might be a big fat lie, since the app will work without the cradle albeit not as well if the marketing literature is to be believed.

          Given there are many more navigation apps in the App Store (MobileNavigator for one), I think the GPS chip in the iPhone is "good enough". It uses aGPS to get fast time to first fix (seconds, since the almanac can be transferred via AGPS faster than downloading it from the satellites).

          No, the reason for the enhanced GPS cradle is twofold - firstly, the iPhone doesn't have advanced GPS features like WAAS support, and most importantly, you don't need an iPhone. The latter is important - for TomTom's app can work on the iPod Touch which lacks GPS. So now, if you don't have an iPhone (for whatever reason - hate AT&T, what have you), you can use your Touch in your car. Plus, the iPhone's speaker isn't that loud, so a nice loud speaker for directions, and if it supports voice command, the Touch needs a microphone.

          TomTom's niche will be the millions of iPod Touches that were formerly cut out.

    • Re:What's the point? (Score:5, Informative)

      by CrankyFool (680025) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:20AM (#29092341)

      The GPS component of Google Maps suffers pretty drastically compared to ye olde average GPS device:

      1. No voice navigation;

      2. No "OK, you're coming up on the turn, take the NEXT right turn";

      3. No "Oops, you've missed it, OK, the next street is a one-way street, so go two blocks .. " (i.e. automatic route re-calculation);

      4. No ability to specify preferences such as "I want to take that bridge, not this one" (maps.google.com lets you rejigger your route quite nicely, but not the app on the iPhone);

      5. Doesn't help you at all if you need to control your iPod component right now (so the app isn't in the foreground);

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by thanasakis (225405)

        Can't you just click on the button twice while you are viewing google maps? I know it works on the iPod, but I dunno if it's the same on the iphone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AllynM (600515) *

        XGPS is completely free (if you are willing to jailbreak) and covers most of the points above. There is a PC-side utility that lets you pull down Google map areas at a specified zoom level and send the created database directly to your iPhone. This has allowed me comfortable use of GPS features on my T-Mobile connected iPhone (without a data plan). The only internet connectivity needed is for route calculation / recalculation, but that too is partly negated by the fact that you can pre-query a route and

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ajdowntown (91738)
      Now you can have a robotic voice yell at you when you missed your turn! Like a nagging wife with you all the time in your car! Worth the money right there!
    • by aardwolf64 (160070) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:22AM (#29092389) Homepage

      1.) No turn-by-turn
      2.) No voice routing
      3.) Most important - No offline storage of maps.

      If you dare go somewhere without cellphone service, you'll quickly find that the streets disappear in Google Maps... That's because it loads the map as needed over your cellphone data connection.

    • Re:What's the point? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Brandee07 (964634) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:27AM (#29092475)

      The built-in Google Maps does automatically display the next direction when you reach a turn, it does not reroute when you go off course, and it does not do anything aloud- everything is displayed in small text.

      I have been using the Google Maps in the iPhone for about a year, and it is definitely useful, but it's not a TomTom equivalent. It requires a navigator to be used effectively. Someone other than the driver needs to press the next button and read the directions aloud- otherwise it's like trying to text while driving.

    • by Algan (20532)

      - Turn by turn directions with voice guidance
      - Built in maps, so you don't need data coverage to use it
      - Automatic rerouting in case of wrong turns

      Still too expensive, considering that a standalone unit can be bought for less than $100 with car kit included

    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      Hopefully it has TomTom's maps built in and doesn't download all the map info on demand over the data connection - I didn't use my iPhone in France for navigation except in emergencies as the roaming data charges are pretty steep. Probably less than £80 though...

    • by pen (7191)
      The Maps application on the iPhone is very underwhelming. The Google Maps application I tried on a Nokia E71 and Blackberry Pearl were not very feature-rich to begin with, but the iPhone blows them both away with its featurelessness. I don't think it will be hard to improve on at all.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:13AM (#29092223) Journal
    I am not going to get vendor locked in to iPhone. Will there be a Android version available from Tom Tom or one of its competitors?
    • Apple is selling unlocked iPhones in the US these days, you know, and they've been doing it in Europe for far longer now.

      Anyway, TomTom hasn't announced anything for Android, to my knowledge.
      • Apple is selling unlocked iPhones in the US these days

        [citation needed]

        • Nah, it needs to be struck. I could've sworn I had heard it a few days back, but a quick Google after your comment reveals that regardless of what I heard, I appear to be very incorrect.
          • by Pieroxy (222434)

            I don't know about the US, but in France and I suppose all over europe, they sell unlocked iphone since day 1. Mind you, a 32GB 3GS will cost 1200Euros, but they sell it!

        • Here ya go [buy.com]

      • by sadler121 (735320)

        Even if this was true, at&t and tmobile use different frequencies for UMTS in the US. You'll be able to do Edge on TMobile, but NOT 3G.

    • by alen (225700)

      they offer a blackberry version as well as Garmin. for Android they are probably waiting for the user base to grow. and it depends on the phone. The iphone app clocks in at a whopping 1.2GB. you get all the maps locally to your phone. every iphone ever made has that much storage.

      for every other device they have to figure out how many phones meet the requirements or what kind of workarounds they have to code to have it run on as many devices as possible. For the iphone it's a lot easier since every generatio

    • by webreaper (1313213) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:36AM (#29092607) Homepage

      Rumour has it there might be, but in the meantime you can get CoPilot for Android (and iPhone) for about half the price of TomTom.

      http://www.alk.eu.com/copilot/android

    • You can get Nokia/Ovi Maps navigation as a monthly or yearly subscription service. You won't be locked in unless you switch phones more than once a month :)

  • You're kidding me. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fahrvergnugen (228539) <fahrv@hoCOBOLtmail.com minus language> on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:14AM (#29092255) Homepage
    Wow, this is a crap deal. How disappointing. Why is the app is 1.2GB in size, when the iPhone is designed as an always-on device? A $30 1GB app with paid map downloads on demand, instead of storing the entire USA on the phone at once, would make much more sense. I agree that streaming maps (such as the google maps app) are useless if you're in the sticks with no coverage or Edge-only coverage, but giving up over 1/8th or 1/16th of my total storage for maps I won't use 99% of the time is a terrible compromise. if I could install map packs based on my travel plans, that would make much more sense. And $100 for the USA, when I can buy a standalone TomTom 125 for $80? Unless the $100 app has feature parity with the $400 standalone units, the only conclusion I can come to is that they are trying to incentivise people away from using the iPhone app, and toward buying a dedicated GPS unit instead. I can think of no other excuse. Bad form, guys. I hope someone sees the market opportunity and steals your cake.
    • Ugh. Sorry about that post. Slashdot ate my formatting, and of course I meant "$30 100MB app," not "1GB app." Need more coffee.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hmmm, you are missing the whole point of a 1.2 GB download (less if you don't want the entire Europe for example) which is that you don't have to download it everytime you go somewhere (even with some form of caching), even when you don't have a 3G/EDGE connection... You don't want to pay for it everytime either (not everybody has free & open wifi access points everywhere, especially in Europe).

    • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:48AM (#29092819) Homepage Journal

      I disagree - having map data in poor signal areas is valuable, and also international data roaming charges are pretty horrendous. I didn't use my iPhone for sat nav while in France the last two weeks for the latter reason.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        His point though is that unless you plan on being kidnapped anytime soon, you're probably going to know ahead of time which areas of the country you'll need GPS maps for and would be able to pre-load those for a trip. The sad fact of the matter is that I don't believe the iPhone offers any way to have "map packs" like a traditional GPS so it's an all-or-nothing type deal. I'll stick with a standalone GPS.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Yeah, I dont understand the market for this or the co-pilot products for other smartphones. For the same money I get a stand-alone GPS and I dont have to worry about an ugly cumbersome adapter, draining battery, wear and tear on my phone, not being able to do calls and gps at the same time, etc. Heck, Id rather have a thief take my $99 GPS than my iphone, which must cost $500 or so off-contract.

      A couple of years ago GPS devices hit the 99 dollar mark. Prior to that I could see an argument for the co-pilot

    • by rm999 (775449)

      1.2 GB is nothing - upgrading from the 16 GB to 32 GB iPhone costs 100 dollars, so consider it a $7.50 tax. If you would never have any interest in upgrading, than 16 GB is probably more than ample space and it's not an issue anyway. Anyway, with Moore's Law in full effect, 1 GB will seem like nothing within two years.

      Also, I don't see how 100 dollars is too much. People are currently willing to spend 80 dollars on a crappy, bulky unit without bluetooth (and last I checked, GPS unit sales are going strong).

    • by Sandbags (964742) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:04PM (#29096855) Journal

      1) internet is not allways on. In fact, there are loads of places I drive where I have no signal at all, but want access to travel data, or need to get feedback from the GPS (like how to go around a wreck blocking the freeway). If WiFi and Cell signals were down, this would be impossible unless you "prepped" your entire journey in advance and downloaded all "near route" data. Doing that on a case by case basis would also place a MASSIVE burden on TomToms systems, which do NOT do that today.
      2) ITS LIFETIME FREE MAP AND SOFTWARE UPDATES!!!, not $39-59 per year on the hardware devices to get new maps, and which can never really have their OS overhauled to add new features either.
      3) it includes tomtomIQ and realtime traffic. I know of no standalone GPS units anywhere near the price of this app, let alone 3 times it, that have live feed for that data, without also having to have a cell phone with bluetooth connect and a data plan and a tethering plan...
      4) I have a 16GB 3GS, and I'm only using just over half the space... saccrificing 1.x GB is no big deal if it saves me $200 on a good standalone, or $400 on a real-time-enabled standalone.
      5) I have it ALLWAYS with me, which I do not find is the case with a standalone GPS... Also real handy walking around city streets where a car based GPS is useless.

      i agree the rumored $200 tomtom car dock sounds way overpriced, however, if it includes the app (potentially in the form of a $99 iTunes gift card), then that's reasonable. i was expecting a $129-149 price tag. I'm sure market feedback and lackluster sales will realize a lower price sooner rather than later on that item.

      I also expect the app price WILL be reduced to $79, at least periodically on sale if not permanantly later on.

  • by horatio (127595) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:20AM (#29092335)

    but if you receive a call while you're driving then the app does cut out -- it will restart once you've finished the conversation

    My Garmin, when connected to my phone (any phone, not just iPhone) via bluetooth does exactly the same thing. It supresses the nav prompts until you complete the call. I don't understand why this is a complaint? Especially for this particular situation since you're running this app on a PHONE whose primary purpose is to receive CALLS. Or have I missed something obvious?

    No, because TFA actually says "For those of you wondering what happens when you get a call, the app turns off but restarts as soon as you finish the call, so it's not too bad."

    • but if you receive a call while you're driving then the app does cut out -- it will restart once you've finished the conversation

      My Garmin, when connected to my phone (any phone, not just iPhone) via bluetooth does exactly the same thing. It supresses the nav prompts until you complete the call. I don't understand why this is a complaint? Especially for this particular situation since you're running this app on a PHONE whose primary purpose is to receive CALLS. Or have I missed something obvious?

      No, because TFA actually says "For those of you wondering what happens when you get a call, the app turns off but restarts as soon as you finish the call, so it's not too bad."

      I agree that it's not a big deal, but it's true that on several year old WinMo phones you can receive or make a call without leaving your navigation program. That can be occasionally useful.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Because you might actually want to know about the freeway exit you needed to take when someone called to ask when you were arriving.

      You might like the volume off, I'm sure other people don't and yet more other people don't want the map to vanish.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      ...are you even supposed to be talking on your 'phone when driving?

    • My Garmin, when connected to my phone (any phone, not just iPhone) via bluetooth does exactly the same thing. It supresses the nav prompts until you complete the call. I don't understand why this is a complaint? Especially for this particular situation since you're running this app on a PHONE whose primary purpose is to receive CALLS. Or have I missed something obvious?

      No, because TFA actually says "For those of you wondering what happens when you get a call, the app turns off but restarts as soon as you finish the call, so it's not too bad."

      I have a factory-installed system in my 2006 GM car. I don't know the brand, but it's a 6CD in-dash stereo and DVD GPS nav and doesn't have bluetooth.

      I have the OnStar prepaid plan for the rare instances when I need to make a call.

      Anyway, if I'm driving with my GPS directions on the GPS will continue to speak while I'm on the phone. I *think* the screen only changes to the "phone" for the first 15 seconds of the call so I can see the number, then it returns to the GPS.

      This way works out fine for me, excep

  • Is probably having on-board maps. The built in app works great as long as you have a good network connection. Get in an area without 3G and the buiilt-in app gets pretty useless if you're moving.

  • Pricing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Hmm.. I can pay $100 for the iPhone app, or for $59.99 I can get the whole unit. I'll stick with the actual TomTom.

  • Price Fail (Score:4, Insightful)

    by njfuzzy (734116) <ian@nOspAm.ian-x.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @12:08PM (#29093193) Homepage
    TomTom missed the boat on this app. You can buy a new TomTom device for $99. Why would I pay the same to add software to a device that I already paid for? I would have bought this if it came out at $50 for the software, or $99 for the software plus the hardware accessory kit. At $99 for the software alone, I will pass.
  • GPS on the Google Maps app is kind of sketchy in my neighborhood... often its range is not focused enough. And once in awhile, it thinks I am in the Grand Canyon, and I have to turn off the iPhone and turn it back on for it to fix itself.

    It was rather humorous, watching myself drive around the Grand Canyon, because it did actually move in sync with my true GPS movements... just thousands of miles off. (I was in Maine.)

    So... will TomTom think I'm somewhere else, when I'm not? Or should I wait for the li

  • Complaints (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbrayton (589141) on Monday August 17, 2009 @12:17PM (#29093361) Homepage

    There are many complaints here that I don't agree with:

    With regard to the price and competing GPS apps: I have a TomTom GPS device that I bought a couple years ago. I paid about $200 and it has been worth every penny. If I didn't already have that device, I would buy the $99 iPhone app in a heartbeat. Yes, there are cheaper GPS apps, and I honestly don't know how most of them compare. I did buy a GPS app last week for $2 or $3. Considering the price I'd say it was good. But it doesn't compare to my TomTom at all; I deleted it. The Google Maps app is also nice, but it doesn't provide turn-by-turn directions while driving. TomTom is doing the smart thing and charging based on the value of the app.

    With regard to the size of the app: I can understand the complaints. But (I think) the storage sizes on phones that will run this range between 8GB and 32GB. 1GB is a significant, but not huge, chunk of that. Phone storage sizes will only increase. I don't want to get lost because my phone can't reach the map server; storying 1GB of map data on the phone seems perfectly reasonable.

    If you don't want it, don't need it, or can't justify the price, then don't buy it. But I think this will be a worthwhile app for many people.

  • OpenStreetMap is the Open Source data provider to a number of free/cheap iPhone applications. http://www.roadee.net/ [roadee.net] being one of the more popular iPhone routing apps. OpenStreetMap.org is the wikipedia of maps.

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