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TomTom Steps Up Connected PND Push

8/29/2011 06:00:00 AM Eastern
Concord, Mass. - TomTom is expanding the selection of Go Live services for its cellular-connected portable navigation devices (PNDs) and bringing out a lower-priced connected PND at a suggested $249.

TomTomThe $249 Go 1535 M Live will arrive in the fall to join the currently available $349-suggested Go 2535 M Live, which launched earlier this year with cellular connection.

The expanded selection of TomTom services delivered over the AT&T cellular network to the connected devices include Yelp, Trip Advisor, Expedia and a Twitter connection designed only to let users automatically send an estimated time of arrival to other Twitter users.

The services, which TomTom calls apps, will join current Go Live services, which consist of Google Local Search, fuel price updates, five-day weather forecasts and the company's recently launched HD (High Density) Traffic service. That service delivers traffic updates more frequently than rival traffic services, covers far more markets, and delivers traffic information about more roadways within those markets, the company said.

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

Current owners of the Go 2535 M Live with active Go Live service can add the new services at MyTomTom in the fall, most of which are designed to drive an expanded selection of local content to drivers to help them choose a local destination, said product management director Alan Beiagi.

Compared to Google Local Search, which provides general search capabilities, the Yelp service provides information about more categories of local destinations, including bars and nightclubs, and it includes user-generated reviews, Beiagi said. Trip Advisor features more hotels plus such establishments as restaurants and museums with updated exhibition descriptions. And Expedia is focused on hotel listings, real-time room prices and availability, and hotel ratings by expert reviewers, he said.

The Twitter service isn't designed for users to look at all their tweets or follow someone but can be programmed to automatically send an estimated time of arrival to twitter followers.

"We're bringing more branded content from the biggest brands in local search," he said. Existing Go Live service features only one branded local-content supplier, Google Local Search. The other current services are TomTom services.

The Go 1535M Live PND that will offer the new branded services will feature a slim design, 5-inch resistive touchscreen, integrated folding mounting bracket, lifetime map updates updatable four times per year, hands-free Bluetooth, and speech recognition for hands-free input. 

TomTom launched its first two cellular-connected PNDs in 2009, but they are available only in limited distribution.
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