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TomTom Finds Its Way to the iPhone

By Richard Adhikari MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Aug 17, 2009 11:38 AM PT

GPS vendor TomTom has released its long-awaited GPS application for the iPhone.

TomTom Finds Its Way to the iPhone

Priced at US$99, it works with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

However, TomTom isn't the first to offer such an item through the App Store. AT&T and Navigon have both already released iPhone turn-by-turn GPS iPhone apps.

More importantly, will anyone shell out $99 for a GPS app, considering that the iPhone comes out-of-the-box with a Google Maps app that provides driving directions?

Join the TomTom Club

TomTom released its GPS app overseas on Sunday, and iPhone users in the U.S. and Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand now have access to the app. Pricing is different in the different markets.

The company first demonstrated the app at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference, held in San Francisco in June.

The app, combined with a car kit, offers an in-car navigation solution on both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

According to the blog GPS Review, the car kit provides a microphone and a speaker, as well as a one-eighth inch line out jack to send audio from the user's iPhone to the car stereo.

The maps will be stored on the iPhone, but the blog warned that updates might have to be purchased regularly, probably on an annual basis.

The app will include the latest maps, according to TomTom's Web site. The car kit offers secure docking, enhanced GPS performance, clear voice instructions, and hands-free calling. It will also charge the user's iPhone.

TomTom did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

About AT&T's App

Back in June, AT&T released the iPhone version of its Navigator GPS application to the App Store.

This works on both the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS and provides voice and visual turn-by-turn navigation.

Other features are map updates, speech recognition, ETA (estimated time of arrival) updates, real time traffic alerts, one-touch rerouting, listing of daily gas prices; and more than 10 million business listings from Yellowpages.com. Drivers can choose among multiple route options. They can also find rest stops for gas, food and other needs along their routes.

While the app costs $10 per month rather than a large up-front fee like TomTom's, AT&T's map and navigating details are automatically updated. This is a major plus point, according to analysts.

"For TomTom, I'd ask how do the maps get updated, and how often," Allen Nogee, principal analyst at In-Stat, told MacNewsWorld.

"One could argue that there's some value in the AT&T subscriptions, as they'll be regularly updated," Carl Howe, director, anywhere research at the Yankee Group, said. "Some GPS makers update their maps regularly for free, but others charge, and it's not clear what TomTom will do," he told MacNewsWorld.

A global edition of AT&T's Navigator app for other AT&T smartphones, powered by TeleNav, has been available since July 2008. This can be used in 20 countries and costs $19.98 a month. It's not yet known whether AT&T will port this to the iPhone as well.

Navigon Playing, Too

In July, German navigation systems manufacturer Navigon released its GPS app, the MobileNavigator, to the App Store. Like the others, this works with both the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS.

The MobileNavigator's features include a realistic display of freeway on- and off-ramps, speed and lane assistance, 2-D and 3-D map displays, voice commands, intelligent address entry, updates to the latest Navteq maps for free, and automatic language selection to match the user's language. Users can choose from English, Spanish or French.

Maps are stored on the iPhone. The North American version of the MobileNavigator comes with maps for the U.S and Canada.

Navigon is offering the app at $69.99, or a 30 percent discount, until Aug. 31.

Google Maps App the Ultimate Lowball

It all boils down to money, really.

"There's already a price war in the portable navigation device market, and we'll see companies having both navigation devices and software being aggressive about getting their products out," Susan Kevorkian, program director for consumer markets at IDC, told MacNewsWorld. "That includes being aggressive on prices."

However, no price can beat free, and iPhone owners already have a Google Maps application, which comes loaded on the iPhone out of the box.

"If I can get the Google Maps app for the iPhone for free, why would I pay for the TomTom app?" In-Stat's Nogee asked.

Pricing also might cause some buyers to consider getting a dedicated navigation device instead of an app. Some models can be purchased new for under $80.

However, the vendors are casting their nets wide, Yankee Group's Howe said. "The vendors see this as an opportunity to sell the same app as they do in a device without the hardware so they get higher margins."


Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
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Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide