TomTom GPS



TomTom NV (Euronext: TOM2) is a Dutch manufacturer of automotive navigation systems, including both stand-alone units and software for personal digital assistants and mobile telephones. It is the leading manufacturer of navigation systems in Europe. TomTom's customer service is located in Amsterdam. TomTom was a follow-up of Palmtop Software, founded by Peter-Frans Pauwels and Pieter Geelen in 1991.
In 2008, TomTom acquired Tele Atlas, a digital map maker, for €2.9 billion.

The company was founded in 1991 and until 1996 developed b2b applications such as meter reading and bar-code reading. Subsequently the company moved its focus to PDA software for the consumer market. Early mapping software included EnRoute and Citymaps.

The company released its first navigator product, TomTom Navigator in 2002, for Windows CE-powered PDAs, bundled with car cradle and GPS receiver.

Version 2 of Navigator followed in 2003.

TomTom Navigator 3 for Windows CE followed in March 2004. This added live Traffic data (a chargeable subscription service), which used the phone/PDA's data connection to access up-to-date traffic information

TomTom GPS unit brst gift ideaJanuary 2004 saw the first release of TomTom's NavCore product, TomTom Navigator for PalmOS. NavCore, still used in current products, is a cross-platform navigation engine. Their first all-in-one device, the TomTom Go, was released based on NavCore (version 4.1) in March 2004. It featured a 3.5" 320x240 screen, 200 MHz CPU, 32MB of RAM and integrated SD reader. It substantially undercut the cost of competing all-in-one solutions (priced at £499 in the UK), and by year-end formed 60% of the company's revenue. Compared with Navigator 3, some features were still missing from NavCore.

TomTom Mobile (for non-touch-screen Windows CE devices) was released in Q3 2004, based on NavCore.

NavCore 5 was released in March 2005, unifying the TomTom feature and codebase. NavCore 5 products were: Navigator 5 for Windows CE and PalmOS, TomTom Mobile 5, and the updated GO models, the 300, 500 and 700.

For the version 5 release, the Traffic subscription service was expanded and rebranded 'TomTom Plus', which added weather information as well as the ability to download new voices and other content.

All the new GO models featured Bluetooth in order to connect to a mobile phone for TomTomPlus. The 500 and 700 added hands-free calling, a faster CPU and expanded mapping and storage.

TomTom expanded their range of NavCore 5 devices with the ruggedized Rider (for motorcycle users), and the budget ONE, in late 2005. Both devices featured the SirfStar III GPS chipset, for radically improved GPS reception over previous devices. The ONE was also significantly slimmer than the earlier GO devices, although this did come at the expense of reduced battery life.

NavCore 6 was released in April 2006, in the shape of the GO 510, 710 and 910. The 910 surpassed the previous x00 series in functionality by providing MP3 player and text-to-speech for road names, while all models featured hands-free calling via bluetooth, new RDS-TMC traffic support and 4" wide screens. The 510 and 710 stored maps on SD card, while the 910 featured a 20GB hard drive. TomTom HOME, software for managing a TomTom from a PC was first released to accompany the x10 series.

NavCore 6 was made available as an update to v5 all-in-one devices in summer 2006, while Navigator users had to wait until August 2006, an indication that PDA navigation software, highly vulnerable to piracy, was no longer a priority for TomTom. Navigator users were not given text-to-speech, a feature restricted to 910 users.

September 2006 saw the release of the revised NavCore v6-powered ONE. An updated RIDER was released in May 2007, alongside a 4.3" widescreen ONE XL. Aside from the larger screen, this added support for an RDS-TMC receiver to the existing ONE offering. The primary difference between the ONE XL and the 510 and 710 was that the ONE XL lacked hands-free calling capabilities but had a slightly larger screen, a slower CPU, fewer bundled accessories and a lower pricepoint.

NavCore v7 first emerged in the GO x20 range in Q3 2007. The x20s introduced the 4.3" screen of the ONE XL to the GO range and added built-in flash storage along with the SD card slot. New features in v7 included Map Share, allowing drivers to notify TomTom of closed roads, and for other drivers to share those updates and speech recognition. In addition, all x20s included FM transmitter and an MP3 player. Launch models were the 520 and 720, while the 920, released Q4 2007, added Enhanced Positioning Technology, which estimated vehicle position when out of GPS range such as when travelling through tunnels. Text-to-speech was standard across the range.

The v7-powered ONE third edition removed Bluetooth, and hence TomTom PLUS, from the v2 ONE, relying on FM-TMC for traffic. It included Map Share but lacked both text-to-speech and speech recognition. The ONE XL HD Traffic, featuring integrated Vodafone GSM SIM card for internet-linked 'HD Traffic' data, and the ONE XL-S, which included text-to-speech, were released year-end 2007. In addition, NavCore 7 was released for all older TomTom all-in-one devices (subject to purchasing a new, compatible map).

Some versions of the HTC Touch Diamond phone came with TomTom Navigator 7, from May 2008. TomTom said that they would not make a standalone release of the software, but in 2009 reversed this policy and Navigator 7 was made available for general sale. Navigator 7 does not support text-to-speech or speech recognition. TomTom have not produced any further versions of Navigator.

TomTom released the GO x30 range in April 2008 based on NavCore 8. New software features included IQ Routes, which routes based on average recorded speeds, rather than speed limits, and Advanced Lane Guidance, an on-screen representation of the correct lane to take. As with the x20, the 930 was distinguished by the inclusion of Enhanced Positioning Technology. GSM HD Traffic receivers, plugging into the car's cigarette lighter, added HD Traffic to the GO range.

Refreshed ONE and XL models were released in May 2008, still based on NavCore 7, featuring an improved speaker.

NavCore 8 updates for NavCore 7 devices, including the ONE v3 and v4, were released in June 2008, giving x20 users (only) IQ Routes and Advanced Lane Guidance, subject to purchasing new maps.

The GO x40 series was released in Autumn 2008 featuring NavCore 8.2. The x40 series was branded 'LIVE' with built-in GSM SIM card, for connected features including HD Traffic, Google Local search, real time speed camera updates, and the facility to search for the cheapest fuel on route. In addition, IQ Routes were made time-sensitive, so that historic speeds were recorded by time of day. x20 and x30 users were given a free update, subject to purchasing an up-to-date map, to support the new IQ Routes 24/7.

The GO range was updated again in September 2009 with the 550, 750 and 950 LIVE featuring NavCore 9. Compared with the x40, changes were relatively minor, and indeed both MP3 player and FM transmitter were removed from the 940 to the 950.

TomTom have released a variety of lower-end models, including a 5" XXL, featuring variously many of the features from the GO x40 and x50, including LIVE, IQ Routes and Advanced Lane Guidance. Each lack (micro)SD slot, being restricted to a maximum of 2GB of internal storage, bluetooth hands-free, and voice control.

TomTom WORK is the business-to-business division of TomTom and has been operating since 2003. This arm of the TomTom Group specialises in telematics; providing vehicle tracking, navigation, two-way communications, job scheduling and report log capabilities to organisations. In 2010, it announced it was providing its service to over 115,000 vehicles operating in Europe.

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