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AT&T To Disconnect Connected PNDs By 2017

New York – Consumers who use cellular-equipped portable navigation devices (PNDs) from TomTom and Garmin will lose their wireless connection in a few years because of AT&T’s plans to shut down its 2G network by the beginning of 2017. 8/09/2012 11:20:46 AM Eastern

New York – Consumers who use cellular-equipped portable navigation devices (PNDs) from TomTom and Garmin will lose their wireless connection in a few years because of AT&T’s plans to shut down its 2G network by the beginning of 2017.

 To help consumers deal with the shutoff, a Garmin spokesperson said his company “will work on a transition strategy for connected-PND customers,” but he said the company “can't comment on any details at this point since it is hard to predict the situation in a couple of years from now. Garmin stopped selling cellular-equipped PNDs last year.

 TomTom, which continues to sell multiple cellular-equipped PNDs, would say only that “as a technology company, we are constantly evaluating our technologies as other technologies evolve and change. However, we are not able to share specific details of our product roadmap.”

  For its part, Magellan said it has not offered cellular-equipped PNDs in the past, though it said it might so in the future

  Although Garmin sold off its last cellular-equipped PND last year because of low customer demand, a spokesperson said, the company hasn’t given up on connecting PNDs to a cellular network. “Instead, we now focus on providing PND-connected content and services through our Smartphone Link app so users can utilize their smartphone's data connection to receive real-time information on their PND,” the spokesman said. The strategy lets users “leverage their existing smartphone without an additional data plan,” he explained.

 During the next few years, Garmin continued, “we will work on transitioning existing customers that own a connected PND to devices that support this new technology as well as new features and design enhancements that come with Garmin’s navigation device roadmap.”

 In select models in TomTom’s current lineup, the company uses embedded AT&T modems to download TomTom’s HD (High Density) Traffic service information and a variety of other Go Live services, including Yelp, Trip Advisor, Expedia and a Twitter connection designed only to let users automatically send an estimated time of arrival to other Twitter users. Live services also include Google Local Search, fuel price updates and five-day weather forecasts.

Go Live service costs $59.95/year, but a free 12-month subscription is included with the purchase of a compatible PND.