I honestly thought my smartphones would replace dedicated personal navigation devices (PNDs) and wrote my last PND buying guide in 2009. For several reasons, I am pleased to see TomTom announce their new TomTom GO series of PNDs that work with smartphones, rather than against them.
Back in 2010, TomTom's VP of market development stated that smartphones won't kill the personal navigation device (PND) and for the last couple of years they were able to keep their PND market alive and these new products show they are working hard to sell even more PNDs in 2014.
I think these new TomTom GO units will appeal to consumers for the following reasons:
- Low cost compared to smartphones
- TomTom Traffic covering 99.9 percent of all roads
- Able to share a PND with the entire family
- Large display options and louder speakers for optimal vehicle usage
- Device dedicated to navigation so calls and reception loss won't impact functionality
TomTom's new GO devices offer 4.3 inch, 5 inch, and 6 inch displays with a couple different touchscreen technologies. Prices range from $119 to $299 with pricing related to screen size and technology, as well as hands-free operations.
While there are many hardware choices, the software also looks fantastic. TomTom provides their own map data, which gives them the ability to provide wider coverage than anyone else with TomTom Traffic covering 99.9 percent of all roads. TomTom Traffic used to be a premium service upgrade, but the new GO devices pair with select smartphones so that this traffic data is provided for free. Ubergizmo has all the details of the upcoming devices.
Due to their vast map coverage, TomTom is able to warn you about more than just major traffic accidents and construction projects. The TomTom GO will also warn you as you approach slow moving traffic and give you optimal options for rerouting that can save you miles over the closest competitor's estimates.
Their new Route Bar looks fantastic and provides essential information along the right side of the display that changes as you travel along your route. The software and Route Bar actually make such GPS units valuable for the daily commuter who travels along the same route. They can now experience an optimized commute, saving themselves time and reducing stress.
In-car solutions are probably the best, thinking about theft issues and full window viewability, but they also require a car purchase and costly map updates to keep current with the latest road and geographic data. We stopped paying the $200 yearly fee for Acura DVDs a few years ago.
A couple years ago, Adrian wrote about why his smartphone can't replace his in-car navigation system and I think as we start to use our smartphones for more and more things fewer of us are willing to compromise for navigation needs.