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Summary:

Well, it’s not the first turn-by-turn GPS navigation application in the App Store, but industry heavyweight TomTom has finally pushed out its entry. It became available late Sunday night, with versions for Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe and North America. In my opinion, TomTom is a […]

tomtom_screenWell, it’s not the first turn-by-turn GPS navigation application in the App Store, but industry heavyweight TomTom has finally pushed out its entry. It became available late Sunday night, with versions for Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe and North America.

In my opinion, TomTom is a little over the top in its app description write-up, proclaiming, “Turn-by-turn car navigation for the iPhone is here.” Well, in fact, it’s also here, and here and here (all iTunes links). It might not have beat everyone out of the gate, but I suppose this is TomTom we’re talking about, and none of its rivals have quite as much brand power.

A couple caveats before you go rushing out to buy the new app. First, it’s a bit on the expensive side. $99.99 for the U.S. and Canada edition (iTunes link), for example, and $149.99 for Western Europe (iTunes link). Also, New Zealand (iTunes link) costs $94.99 while Australia (iTunes link) is only $79.99? Maybe I’m just being naive, but isn’t New Zealand a whole lot smaller and less difficult to navigate? Maybe you pay extra for live sheep traffic updates.

In addition, the accompanying iPhone GPS mount is nowhere to be seen, at least not yet. The device, which is meant to augment the iPhone’s own GPS abilities, as well as provide a line out for car stereo use and take advantage of iPhone OS 3.0 hardware access features, won’t be released until later this year. The good news is that when it does arrive, there will also be an iPod touch-specific model, so you won’t need an iPhone to use the app.

Anyone taking the plunge on this WWDC keynote star? If so, we’d be glad to hear your impressions.

  1. $99 for the US version is way over the top for this. ALK CoPilot live is $35 and it works fine. Sure, it is a bit buggy, but I am sure TomTom is not perfect yet either. The makers of navigation software really need to get over themselves in terms of pricing. Selling 100,000 at $35 is far better than 10,000 at $99.

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  2. Stupid. I could pony up a little more for a dedicated stand alone GPS unit. Using Google Maps works fine for quick on-the-go navigation, especially on the compass driven 3GS).

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  3. I would have gone as high as $50, waiting until I figured I would need it. At $30 I would pop for this app pronto.

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  4. Not sure where you got your prices, but the NZ iTunes store lists the price as NZD120 (about USD80) … sheep and all.

    As you say, a lot to pay for a less complex road system, but there are fewer potential buyers (the population of NZ is smaller than that of New York or London) so I guess it balances out.

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  5. I’m in Australia and in US$ terms it looks like we got the best deal, but still $99 AU is fairly steep. My dedicated GPS kept blowing the fuse in the car, so I was on the lookout for an iPhone replacement. The prices of all the GPS apps seemed to be in the $60 to $99 AUS range and I didn’t know if all of them would support the country roads I live on. I rang TomTom and gave them my address, which was supported. That was enough. The maps cover me, TomTom support works and I know this brand has a great reputation. So I forked over the extra dollars for piece of mind. The app works great by the way. Very simple and intuitive and better than my stand-alone was.

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    1. Actually, I should take back what I say about TomTom support. They provide telephone support, but the users weren’t really knowledgeable about the product and the Web Site is terrible. There is absolutely nothing available on the iPhone. You can’t download a user manual, you can’t change voices … it seems you can’t do anything as the iPhone app doesn’t exist. Very frustrating.

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  6. Does anyone know when or if Tom Tom will release version that support SE Asia (Singapore / Malaysia). I know that Tom Tom / TeleAtlas has coverage and mapping products for this area — there’s just no information published yet on when (or if!) this is going to get released for iPhone.

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    1. It’s been released now… for Singapore & Malaysia. Check it out at the iTunes store

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  7. Sounds like a useful app. No one is going to be buying GPS units anymore.

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  8. I would also jump at it if it was $30. No way I’m going for $100. Bummer they can’t see how much money they would make if this was cheaper.

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  9. How does the iPhone based GPS app handle things when you have an incoming call. Other apps appear to close when a call comes in and the phone app pops to the front. This means that, unlike a dedicated phone and separate GPS, when you get a phone call you won’t get any driving directions. This could be a problem if you need to be talking on the phone while you drive somewhere.

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    1. Graham. It’s not perfect; if you’re following a route when the phone rings, you can answer the call, but the GPS app is not running. Then when you finish the call, TomTom starts up again and continues with the route. So the downside there is you won’t have any GPS instructions whilst on the call, but at least it continues.

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  10. I think the Nav makers really need to rethink their price points. As someone who has had both major brands of GPS units in the US, I won’t be giving mine up for the app at this price. Let me disclose upfront that I haven’t fully tested my 3Gs, but in the past, if you lost cell signal the GPS portion wasn’t strong enough to carry on navigating for you (true of the BlackBerry as well).

    Besides, when it comes to a stand-alone GPS unit, a chunk of what you are paying for is the hardware. With the hardware eliminated, the app could be less expensive than it is unless they have free lifetime map upgrades (that might make the price worth it).

    If you’re trying to tap into a market of people wishing to switch to having just one device, add to their arsenal of devices (who hasn’t forgotten their GPS on occasion) or people who haven’t taken the plunge for GPS at all, lower the price and sell in volume.

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