However, this traffic service will not be the enhanced “HD traffic” service the Dutch company has launched recently in Europe which gathers traffic data from cell phone movements. It seems that the TomTom is having difficulties to find a carrier partner in the United States, hence the launch of a connected product without its flagship traffic service. Indeed, the real-time traffic service offered here is the same that was previously available through a Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone connected to the web. The gas price data is provided by OPIS and is updated every four hours for 120,000 gas stations across the United States.
This new PND also features some minor improvements to the existing navigation software. The historical traffic data (IQ Route) has been improved with three minutes increments for each road section covered in the United States. Additionally, the speech recognition capabilities have been expanded as well as the number of road junctions covered by its “advanced lane guidance”.
With this device TomTom is the first major brand to launch a connected PND in the United States. In this difficult economic environment, offering one year free service is a safe choice for TomTom. The Dutch company is still figuring out what will be the pricing after the first year, explained a TomTom representative to GPS Business News. TomTom probably expects to have its HD Traffic ready when this one year free subscription comes to an end.
Even if this product does not feature HD Traffic, there is an interesting window of opportunity on the U.S. market today for TomTom. Indeed, its main competitor, Garmin, which currently dominates the U.S. PND market, made the strategic decision – so far – to not develop connected PNDs and to concentrate its effort on launching its own Smartphone.