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TomTom Readies New PNDs, First GPS Watches

Amsterdam, The Netherlands — TomTom is launching its first own-brand GPS sports watches, due this summer in the U.S., and a revamped lineup of portable navigation devices (PNDs), due sometime later in the U.S.

U.S. prices and ship dates weren’t disclosed.

At a global launch event here, the GPS company unveiled a new GO series of PNDs that were redesigned “to become an essential daily driving tool” instead of a tool to be used only to get to unfamiliar destinations, said Corinne Vigreux, managing director of TomTom Consumer. All three PNDs are connected models that connect to the cloud to access traffic data and other services, including updated speed-camera locations. Lifetime traffic service is included.

The PND lineup consists of a 4.3-, 5- and 6-inch model, each available in one of two configurations: built-in cellular modem or built-in Bluetooth data connection to a smartphone, which acts as the PND’s cellular modem.

 Lifetime map updates are included with all models.

 Capacitive touchscreens display interactive maps that let users zoom in and out to find places on the map. Users tap on the map to get a route to the destination. The PNDs also feature 3D maps showing buildings and landmarks.

 A route bar shows traffic and travel information at a glance for the road ahead, including speed camera information. A quick search function starts finding destinations as soon as the driver starts typing. A My Places function lets users see favorite locations on the map to make it easier to find and navigate to favorite locations.

 A three-month trial of speed-camera alerts is included.

  In the GPS sports watch market, TomTom previously teamed up with Nike, which makes the Nike+ SportWatch Powered by TomTom. The TomTom Runner and TomTom Multisport watches, however, are not made with Nike and are TomTom’s first solo-branded devices in the sports market, the company said.

 Both are designed to be thinner and simpler to use than competing sports watches. “We know that most GPS watches on the market are too bulky and complicated to use while training,” said Vigreux.

 For runners, cyclists and swimmers, both 11.5mm-thick models feature large displays to deliver full-screen information at a glance. They also eschew multiple small buttons for a single larger button that navigates up-down and left-right through menus to access key statistics and watch features. The button is said to be easy to operate while a user is in motion and can be controlled by users wearing gloves.

Features include built-in sensors to count strides, enabling users to monitor pace and distance even while running on a treadmill. The QuickGPSFix quickens GPS location times by accessing GPS and GLONASS satellites. The watches also sync, analyze and share stats on popular running sites and community platforms, including the TomTom MySports website, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, TrainingPeaks and MyFitnessPal.

 The watches are waterproof up to 50 meters, and their batteries last up to 10 hours with GPS on.

 Bluetooth Smart technology connects the watches to such sensors as a heart rate monitor.

TomTom Multi-Sport includes all the features included in TomTom Runner and adds the ability for multi-sport athletes to track their distance, time, speed and other key metrics when they cycle or swim. The Multi-Sport also comes with optional bike mount and cadence sensor.