GPS-maker TomTom announces a new, big-screen (5-inch diagonal) in-car portable GPS device, the TomTom GO LIVE 1535M ($249, available in October), which includes customized apps for travel services. The GO LIVE 1535M will include apps for Yelp, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Twitter.
With this new GPS, TomTom is recognizing the crucial importance of real-time connectivity to apps, data and services, yet it is also balancing that need with usability and driving safety.
TomTom has invested a lot of thought and research into a GPS interface that can meld super-popular apps such as Yelp and Twitter without excessively distracting the driver. For example, the customized Yelp app is invoked in the interface of the TomTom GO LIVE 1535M with one touch, and then the driver selects a location ("near you" for example). Next level of search is by category, and then options are presented by distance. Select a destination, and details are provided, and the option to navigate directly to the destination. The user may also type in a search, but that should be done when stopped, or by a passenger. As an enthusiastic Yelp user, I'm pleased to see this app on board a GPS, since I now use it separately on my smartphone.
TripAdvisor and Expedia apps offer a similar interface, with each bringing its unique mix of information to the party. For example, Expedia lists real-time price information for hotels and other travel services.
What about Twitter? TomTom wisely turned the customized Twitter interface into an arrival notification service. So, you are not posting and reading tweets while you drive. To use Twitter, sync the app with your account, add a custom message before you depart, and then let Twitter automatically post your arrival time (as determined by the GPS) and check-in.
Traffic detection and avoidance is another feature TomTom emphasizes with the new GO LIVE 1535M. TomTom was a pioneer of crowd-source (gathering data from devices on the road) traffic detection and avoidance, with HD Traffic in Europe. TomTom brings its latest and greatest traffic features to the GO LIVE 1535M claiming higher jam accuracy, and many more miles of road coverage (particularly secondary roads) and updating every 2 minutes.
Other features of the new GO LIVE 1535M include:
- Voice recognition and one-step address entry.
- Bluetooth hands-free calling.
- Integrated fold-and-go windshield mount.
- Spoken street names.
- Advanced Lane Guidance (previews upcoming exits/turns and shows which lane to be in).
- Free, 12-month subscription to cell connectivity and LIVE services ($59.95 per year thereafter). - Users of the GO LIVE 2535M will be able to upgrade their devices to this software and add the custom apps this fall.
- Free product-lifetime map updates.
Overall, the new apps and big-screen GO LIVE 1535M GPS look like strong steps toward keeping dedicated car GPS competitive, and still in the lead as the overall premium/best choice for in-car navigation compared to smartphones.