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TomTom Plans Free Lifetime Map Updates, Traffic Reports

1/08/2010 11:58:52 AM Eastern

Las Vegas - TomTom will turn up the
competitive heat in the portable navigation device (PND) market in the second
quarter when it begins bundling free lifetime map updates and free lifetime
traffic data with a variety of its models.

Some models will
get free lifetime map updates, others will get free lifetime traffic, and some
models will get both, market development VP Tom Murray told TWICE.

No other PND
supplier currently offers free lifetime map updates, which generally cost
anywhere from $39 to $69, Murray said. TomTom
updates its maps quarterly.

Under the new
strategy, TomTom will offer free lifetime traffic updates for the first time,
but it's not the first PND maker to offer free lifetime traffic updates, Murray
said.

TomTom, which owns
digital map maker TeleAtlas, will decide which PNDs get one or both features
after discussions with its retailers.

To provide
lifetime traffic data, TomTom will build an RDS/TMC receiver into the power
cords that will come with select PNDs. The traffic updates are delivers via FM
RDS broadcasts from Clear Channel radio stations in 93 U.S.
and Canadian markets.

Almost all of
TomTom's current PNDs are traffic-ready, requiring an add-on RDS/TMS receiver to get traffic updates.