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TomTom's Portable Navigation Device: Dash Revisited?

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tomtomAT&T (s t) is continuing to move into the connected-devices space with the new TomTom XL 340S LIVE, but the gadget’s $300 price tag — and $10-a-month service — will likely prevent it from gaining much traction. There’s a lot to like about the GPS-enabled navigation device: It delivers real-time traffic information, gas prices and weather, and it features Google’s (s goog) Local Search. And it underscores AT&T’s eagerness to expand its business of adding network connectivity to consumer devices, which is quickly becoming a pillar in mobile carriers’ business models.

AT&T also is rumored to be the carrier behind Garmin’s upcoming nuvifone, which will compete with TomTom’s new device. It’s difficult to see many customers ponying up that much cash for a stand-alone device, though, when sophisticated, multimedia-friendly handsets such as the Palm Pre or iPhone 3G can be had for less than $100. Although TomTom’s new device is optimized for use behind the wheel — with its big screen and colorful display — and the price includes three free months of service, I’m not convinced that justifies what amounts to a $510 handset (including two years of service) for navigation purposes alone. After all, a knockout device wasn’t nearly enough to save Dash Navigation, which was acquired a few months ago for a mere fraction of the $71 million it raised from venture investors. We’re quickly entering the age of connected consumer gadgets, but there’s not a ton of demand for pricey navigation devices when today’s smartphones can do the job pretty well by themselves.

4 Responses to “TomTom's Portable Navigation Device: Dash Revisited?”

  1. I have to agree the price tag is way too high–especially with only 3 months AT&T connectivity. I’m really interested to see some comparison numbers in 6-12 months between the TomTom car kit and app and its traditional PND sales. Especially in North America. I’m also curious as to which is more profitable by unit for TomTom. There’s got to be a business model there somewhere.

  2. TeleNav and Networks in Motion have leverage the carrier distribution relationship on smart phones but can TomTom with AT&T?

    I am not sure TomTom can replicate their European success in the U.S. without more investment in resources here. TomTom charges a big premium for their their red light camera and speed camera database. Can they replicate their success in Europe on their own in the U.S.?

    • Actually Jeff that’s not true – TomTom’s US red light and speed camera (aka “safety camera”) database is now free with the package mentioned above. In fact it’s the >> first << free download on the list when you plug your TomTom into your PC running their free software. We've not looked at the accuracy.