This new service is not a complete novelty in the Personal Navigation Device industry since Navigon has been launching it last year under the “FreshMaps” name. For TomTom this new service is yet another way to sell the navigation experience as a subscription rather than as a product in order to create more value.
Until now the trend for consumers has rather been to buy a new product than a new map; but for TomTom – especially since the Dutch company owns its map provider Tele Atlas - there is more profit to be made in the latter than in hardware. It is definitely a better business to sell new maps on a three years old model than letting consumer getting out in a store and buy a new device that might not be a TomTom too.
Whether this map service will be a success or not is a big question mark; TomTom will have to make a lot of effort to engage with its customers outside the point of sale in order to really make it work.