By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TomTom has turned to cellular phones to deliver real-time traffic and weather information to handheld navigation systems that suggest alternate routes around congested roads.
The new TomTom GO 300 and 700 self-contained handheld GPS systems provide turn-by-turn driving instructions via voice prompts and via on-screen maps. They also connect via Bluetooth to a cellphone to download real-time traffic and weather information from a new service called TomTom PLUS.
To access TomTom PLUS, consumers need a Bluetooth-equipped GSM/GPRS phone, which delivers up-to-date traffic and weather information, more detailed city maps, points of interest, and different voices that deliver driving directions.
After points-of-interest are downloaded, the devices provide audible and visual alerts when the user approaches a downloaded location.
Traffic and weather updates can be delivered at user-settable intervals from one to 15 minutes.
The PLUS service also provides audible and visual alerts of traffic incidents, estimates delay times, offers route options around traffic congestion, and provides traffic-incident details.
Traffic information is provided by radio-station group Clear Channel through TeleAtlas. On-demand weather information about a destination or route is provided by NOAA.
Both devices will be available in late spring or early summer at undetermined prices.
The more expensive 700 features U.S. and Canadian maps preloaded on an internal 2.5GB hard disk. The lower price 300 will ship with continental-U.S. maps preloaded on a 1GB SD memory card. Maps of Canada and other states and territories of the United States are on CD-ROM.
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