TomTom PND Goes OEM In U.S.


Southfield, Mich. - Portable navigation device (PND) supplier TomTom unveiled its first "semi-integrated" OEM navigation system for the U.S. market.

 The TomTom Blue & Me system, an option on the 2012 Fiat 500, consists of a PND that connects to the vehicle's wiring to get power and integrate with the vehicle's electronics systems. As a result, the PND can be controlled from the car's steering-wheel controls, and it displays information from the car's trip computer. The device also includes a media player and cellphone hands-free Bluetooth interface. Pricing was unavailable.

 Earlier this year at the Geneva Auto Show,

Harman unveiled

a similar concept, which it developed for Mercedes. It's available in Europe.

 TomTom automotive managing director Giles Shrimpton called the TomTom device an "infotainment product that 'connects' to the vehicle's infrastructure and bridges the gap between automotive electronics and retail electronics to bring navigation technology to the vehicle system with quicker time to market."

 Unlike fixed in-dash OEM navigation systems, the device allows for easy map updates through the MyTomTom online portal and a variety of personalization features, including choice of start-up screens and car symbols, the company said.

 Blue&Me is already available on Fiats in Europe.

 When connected to the Fiat, the device's 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen displays the vehicle's low-fuel warning, mileage, trip odometer, clock, and language settings. Other features include dead reckoning for continued navigation when GPS is unavailable, voice-control and command, gesture control with pinch-to-zoom and swipe, street-name announce, and advanced lane guidance.

TomTom IQ Routes enables the device to evaluate route options based on actual historical traffic speeds rather than posted speed limits and will recommend the fastest route for the time of day.

 Harman's Becker Map Pilot is similar. It consists of a portable "brain" that sits in a glove-box docking cradle, which connects the brain to the car's in-dash and steering-wheel controls and to an in-dash display. It was promoted as combining the flexibility and upgradability of a portable navigation device (PND) with the OEM integration of an in-dash factory system.


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