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TomTom Unveils User-Updatable PND

Concord, Mass. — TomTom introduced today a new midline personal navigation device (PND) that allows users to update maps as they go and share the changes with other users.

The new TomTom GO 720 is a slim-line PND with a 4.3-inch touchscreen and is the first TomTom to offer optional RDS real-time traffic.

Its salient feature is a button that lets users bookmark errors in their map software that they might note while navigating. When the user stops driving, the GO 720 prompts him through a menu to make map changes such as updating a street name, or noting a reversed one-way street. He may then connect the GO 720 to a PC to share the updates with other users through TomTom HOME software, which currently has one million users. TomTom says the software has built-in levels of security so that users can decide which map updates are the most reliable.

TomTom claims map upgrades to navigation systems in new cars can cost $300 to $400.

Other features of the GO 720 include Bluetooth for hands-free dialing and a built-in FM transmitter to playback sound through the car’s stereo. It has preloaded maps of the United States and Canada on 2GB of internal flash memory as well as an SD card slot and lithium-polymer battery for five hours of operation. The unit ships at the end of July at $499.

TomTom claims to be the largest worldwide supplier of portable navigation with a market share of 25 percent in the United States and 50 percent in Europe. It has a total of 10 million users worldwide.