TomTom, a Dutch company that produces navigation and mapping products and one of Apple Maps data providers, today released a brand new real-time traffic information and navigation app on the App Store.
Dubbed TomTom Go Mobile, the free of charge software is now available globally and shares the same user interface as the TomTom GO satnav app. The app lets you drive up to fifty miles, or 75 kilometers, every month free of charge.
Upgrade to unlimited driving are available through the In-App Purchase mechanism.
TomTom, an Apple Maps data provider, announced Tuesday renewing its partnership with the iPhone maker “for maps and related information.”
“TomTom has renewed and extended its global agreement with Apple for maps and related information,” wrote the Amsterdam-based company in a short notice on its website. “No further details of the agreement will be provided,” they added.
Apple's boss Tim Cook in a recent shakeup at the company's top added Maps and Siri to the already vast range of responsibilities of SVP Eddy Cue. Apple's 'Mr. Fixer', as he's been called because of his expertise in Internet software and services, also a member of the Ferrari board, could be looking to make a takeover bid for TomTom, a Dutch vendor of automotive navigation hardware and software and Europe's leading maker of navigation systems.
TomTom is a major data provider for Apple Maps and bringing the company's expertise and data sets under Apple's roof could help accelerate the pluming work needed to fix Apple's service. Rabobank analyst Hans Slob wrote in a research report today that there's a 30 percent chance that Apple will seek to acquire TomTom "because the Dutch software maker has the capacity to make speedy changes to correct any mapping errors or create new functions"...
While we knew that Apple was looking to knock off Google as the Maps provider for iOS, we weren't exactly sure how it was going to do it. Was it building an in-house database? Using OpenStreetMaps?
Well as it turns out, neither of those answers were correct. According to the Acknowledgement page from inside the new iOS 6 Maps application, Apple is using mapping services from TomTom...
TomTom is obviously one of the biggest players in the navigation business, and with standalone devices selling alongside the company's mobile apps, it's also one of the most dominant.
Not happy to rest on its laurels, TomTom has been showing off a new version of its popular iOS app at this year's CES, and it's a little different. Namely, this incarnation uses social networks like never before, with Twitter and Facebook being used to actually help with navigation.
Version 1.10 of the current TomTom apps will take in the new social features, with abilities such as navigating to recent checkins on a network being added throughout the app. Notifications of expected arrival times and more can also be shared the other way, keeping your friends and family up to date on proceedings...
Today TomTom released an update to its iPhone app that adds an iPad version. This means that, with a 3G iPad, you can use your iPad as a turn-by-turn navigation device.
The app takes great advantage of the iPad's screen real estate. The universal update was updated for all of the international TomTom apps, too.
After making its debuts in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe, the TomTom iPhone app is finally available for download in the App Store.
TomTom for iPhone doesn't come for cheap though... Priced at $99, this fully featured turn-by-turn GPS system is more expensive than some dedicated GPS units. At least TomTom doesn't require you to get a $10/month subscription fee like AT&T NAvigator.
There is still no word about the TomTom Car Adapter Kit but I suppose it will be available soon.
I haven't tried the TomTom app myself yet and I'm still wondering if it's really worth it compared to the $35 competitor CoPilot Live. I guess I will wait for a while and read more reviews to figure out what seems to be the best GPS out there.
TomTom US & Canada - $99.99
TomTom Western Europe - $139.99
TomTom Australia - $79.99
TomTom New Zealand - $94.99
If you've already tried the TomTom for iPhone application, please leave a comment below and tell us what you think.
I know that Google Maps for the iPhone lets you see traffic data in certain areas, but it is very limited by the quality and quantity of available data. With the huge number of iPhones and there wide geographic dispersion and with its GPS and "always on" internet capabilities it should be pretty easy to to actually capture traffic data with an iPhone app. This data could then be shared and distributed back to other iphone apps.
There have been other GPS's with this approach, but it would pretty simple to create a simple app that has a "Traffic Start" button and a "Traffic End" button that would then use the GPS coordinates and the time between the two points to calculate the location and amount of congestion. This very small packet of data could then be sent to a traffic data base (and maybe validated by other reports) and then retransmitted back to the other worthy iPhone users.
It would have to be something you could do while driving so I am envisioning a very simple screen tap to turn on and off. Also it would take some data finess and number crunching on the server side, but wouldn't it be cool!
Maybe we could just get Dash to write the app for us.
Apparently Apple inserted a special provision in the SDK agreement prohibiting developers from creating apps "marketed for real time route guidance; automatic or autonomous control of vehicles, aircraft, or other mechanical devices; dispatch or fleet management; or emergency or life-saving purposes." No real-time route guidance? That means no GPS...
We know TomTom said that its app is ready to go on the iPhone so maybe Apple is just trying to cover its butt. However, these terms are copied almost word-for-word from the Google Maps API terms, which means that TomTom and others are probably free to use their own maps to do real-time guidance.