GPS VENDOR Tomtom is throwing everything at its Go Live 1000 unit, praying that it will somehow save the firm.
Tomtom has packed the Go Live 1000 with a Webkit based browser interface, apparently in the hope that customers will mistake it for a smartphone. The firm says that it has optimised the unit for "rapid integration of third party applications", meaning it has finally caught on to the fact that smartphones are destroying its business. To run these third party applications, the Go Live 1000 features a 500MHz ARM 11 based chip.
Tomtom is keen to stress that punters who shell out for one of its GPS boxes won't find themselves stuck with old data. The firm has partnered with Vodafone, claiming to offer "real-time connectivity seamlessly across 33 European countries for the first time", or in plain English, the ability to get over-the-air updates across most of Europe. Of course to get that seamless service you need to pony up cash every 12 months and Tomtom says that not all services will be available in every country.
Not stopping at merely stating features that are available for free on smartphones, Tomtom claims to have improved its routing algorithm, taking into account the latest traffic reports. It has also included a completely rejigged user interface to help flog the system to users who haven't heard of the free alternatives.
Tomtom clearly thought it could milk users for as long as possible by flogging them over-priced, under-featured GPS receivers. The inclusion of a web browser based interface is merely a last ditch effort at what the firm is calling "an innovative new business model".
Whether this will be enough to sway punters who can use services such as Google's Navigation application on Android smartphones for free is doubtful.
The firm said that its Go Live 1000 GPS unit will be available this summer but hasn't released pricing yet. µ