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TomTom Targets Mid, High Ends

Las Vegas – TomTom is adding to its  flagship Go series of portable navigation
devices (PNDs) and unveiling a new mid-range series.

In the Go series, the first Go Live 2500-series PND will be the
first new TomTom PND in several years with embedded cellular modem, enabling
drivers to perform local Google searches and obtain updated weather reports and
fuel prices. The 2500-series model will also be the company’s first PND in the
U.S. with TomTom’s own cellular-delivered HD Traffic service, which is
operational in Europe and will go live in the U.S. in mid-2011 for access
through the PND’s embedded cellular modem. The service will combine real-time
incident data and live traffic-flow data, which will be provided by
GPS-equipped fleet vehicles, iPhones equipped with a TomTom navigation app, and
cellular-embedded TomTom PNDs.

The new midrange series, called VIA, brings voice recognition and
hands-free Bluetooth, among other features, to TomTom’s midrange products for
the first time. Bluetooth and voice recognition appears in two of the four.

The new Go and VIA models will be available in the spring. Prices
were unavailable.

In the new Go Live 2500 series, the first model will sport the 5-inch
capacitive, swipeable touchscreens of the recently launched Go 2405 TM and 2505
TM at suggested retails of $299 and $319. All three also offer a simpler user
interface to get to a given screen with fewer taps, and all three offer the
company’s first magnetic mount to dock the PNDs quickly with one hand.

All three Go models also offer voice recognition, hands-free
Bluetooth, lifetime map updates and continuous route monitoring, a new feature
that automatically alerts a driver to traffic delays and asks the driver
whether to calculate a faster route.

To these features, the Go Live 2500-series model adds intuitive
voice recognition, which eliminates the need for special language to control
key features by voice. Drivers can say “take me to” a destination instead of
saying “navigate to,” said product management director Robert Belmont-Peters.

More important, the Go Live model adds TomTom HD Traffic and
other cellular-delivered services. Because of faster data speeds compared to
analog-FM-based traffic services, the company’s HD Traffic service is promoted
as twice as accurate and able to offer traffic reports on secondary roads.
Faster speed also enables drivers to receive traffic-flow data, not just
accident reports.

The cellular modem also accesses local Google Search to get
points-of-interest information not available in the unit’s embedded POI
database as well as weather and fuel-price reports.

The subscription price of the traffic/data services hasn’t been

The only other cellular-equipped TomTom PNDs are the
three-year-old Go Live 740 and 340. Their bundled traffic/data services cost $10/month.

For the midrange VIA launch, TomTom is using resistive
touchscreens. Like the new Go Live model, the four feature the simpler
interface, and two of the four add Bluetooth and voice recognition, two
features appearing in the company’s midrange products for the first time.

All four VIA models are also slimmer than current midrange models,
and they add a “flip screen,” which automatically reorients itself when mounted
upside down. The VIA models also add an integrated mount that folds back and
leaves the PND small enough to still fit in a pocket.

The four VIA models include the 1405 and 1505 with 4.3- and
5-inch screens. They lack Bluetooth and voice recognition, but those features
appear in the 1435 and 1535, also with 4.3- and 5-inch screens, respectively. Their
voice-recognition uses the company’s new intuitive voice-recognition technology.

All four come with optional lifetime map updates and optional lifetime
RDS-TMC traffic reports, and they feature continuous route monitoring.