By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Two new personal navigation devices (PNDs) from TomTom feature so-called smart routing systems that select the best route to avoid traffic, based on a database of various roads' historic traffic patterns by day of the week.
The new models are the GO 730 and 930, due to ship April 29 at a suggested $449 and $499, respectively. In the future, the devices will also distinguish traffic patterns by time of day, the company said.
"The best or most efficient route might be drastically different on a Monday than a Sunday afternoon," said TomTom president Joceyln Vigreux. "IQ Routes takes into consideration historical speed averages on any given road. It makes your ETA more accurate and improves your most efficient route."
TomTom gathered the traffic-pattern data for its new IQ Routes feature from its network of current TomTom users. Users who periodically connect their PND to their PC to update maps are given the option to share their road-speed information. "We ask our users if they want to anonymously share information with us, and when they accept, we can actually deduce their average speed on road segments, once they connect their PND to TomTom Home [on their PC]. Millions have participated over the past six months," said Vigreux.
The new models also offer voice input of address, Bluetooth and lane-detail display to help users as they navigate through complicated intersections. The GO 730 includes maps of the United States and Canada, and the 930 adds maps of Europe.
The GO 930 also adds enhanced positioning technology to continue navigating even in a tunnel or where the GPS signal is lost. Both are compatible with an optional RDS-TMC real-time traffic receiver. Versions with built-in traffic service may be available later in the year.
TomTom also announced it plans to bring live sharing of traffic information to PND users.
The company's High Definition Traffic service, already available in Europe, delivers updates five times more often than standard live traffic services and covers 10 times as many roads, the company said. "We're definitely looking at bringing High Definition traffic to this continent," TomTom president Jocelyn Vigreux said.
To deliver the service, TomTom offers PNDs with GSM SIM cards. The PNDs collect road-speed data as the user drives and sends it off to TomTom, which aggregates the speed data from multiple users and broadcasts it to similarly equipped PNDs in the form of traffic updates.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.