TomTom today released the entry-level TomTom One 3rd Edition - which we told you about earlier this week - and the new flagship TomTom Go 920 GPS unit. The announcements came at a press conference at the IFA 2007 consumer electronics show in Berlin.
At the launch, the TomTom Go 920 was hailed as the company's "most complete satnav device ever". It features a 4.3-inch touchscreen and seamless maps of 41 countries in Eastern and Western Europe. The Go 920 also has maps of the US and Canada, 4GB of internal memory and uses TomTom's proprietary MapShare technology.
TomTom MapShare allows you to correct and update maps, and share your maps with the rest of the TomTom community of users. There's no benefit to doing this in terms of money or extra services, but you do get localised maps in exchange for your input. These should help you "drive like a local, wherever you are", TomTom chief operating officer Alexander Ribbink told Tech.co.uk.
You can choose whether to receive all corrected maps from users, or just those that have been verified by TomTom. "We believe this will be a very successful feature, as no one can improve maps in the way that drivers knowing local routes can," Ribbink told us.
TomTom has beefed up the safety features in its product ranges as well. New functions include speech recognition, safety locks and handsfree calling. There are also 'Help Me' menus in case of emergencies, pointing you towards local emergency services or road assistance, and giving you the quickest routes to the nearest police station or hospital.
"In all, we want to make driving faster and safer. With these new products launched today, we want to take the 'E' out of 'ETA' (estimated time of arrival)," Ribbink said.
Services such as MapShare and the Help Me menu will become the key driver for satnav devices in the future, predicted Stefan Kühn, TomTom vice president of sales, Central and Eastern Europe, in a quick interview immediately after the briefing.
Bluetooth remote control
"There are so many satnav makers out there and I don't think adding bells and whistles such as MP3 functionalities to players will attract more customers," Kühn said. "Services will be more important to users." He also predicted that many of TomTom's rivals would either merge or give up on the satnav market over the coming months in response to the over-crowding of the market.
The TomTom Go 920 will ship in time for Christmas, costing 550 euros (£373). It comes with a Bluetooth remote control and an optional RDS-TMC receiver for traffic data.
Kühn also revealed that TomTom is developing its own traffic information system, due to be trialled in the Netherlands later this year. No further details could be given at this stage, but the service looks likely to hit the UK sometime next year.