TomTom explains why tablets aren't ideal as sat navs

TomTom explains why tablets aren't ideal as sat navs
Our artist's impression of a Nexus-size sat nav

You may be eyeing up that 7-inch tablet as a potential sat-nav replacement, but navigation expert TomTom insists that the ideal size for the average car is actually somewhere between a Samsung Galaxy Note and a Google Nexus 7.

TomTom announced at IFA 2012 that it would be rolling out an update to its Android app that allowed for offline maps – a significant step for the sat nav company.

With phone screens seeming a little on the small size for many who are considering replacing their existing navigation device, it could well be the spate of 7-inch tablets that offer up an interesting option.

Just too big

But, speaking to TechRadar at the Berlin show, the company's engaging MD Corinne Vigreux insisted that there was a reason why the company stopped at 6-inches for its navigation devices, although she is not attempting to dictate what the consumer should go for.

"The thing with sat nav or with any form factor is that 7-inches is just a bit too big," said Vigreux "That's the reason why we went for 6-inches – and believe it or not 6-inches is more expensive to manufacture than a 7-inch because there are fewer 6-inch screens.

"The reason we have done that is that we always think about the customer experience so when you are in the car 7-inches is little bit too obstructive.

"If you are in a truck or a big SUV then you might be okay with a 7-inch but we think that 6-inches is the right size. It's a compromise between the phone and tablet.

"I'm a great believer in not telling the consumer what to buy – I will offer it to them and let them choose."

Fricking windshield

The TomTom app is a good example of the company's stated 'platform agnostic' approach, and it does work on Apple's iPad, although Vigreux joked that using Apple's 9.7-inch tablet might be a bit excessive.

"The TomTom app works on iPad although I've never seen anyone using their iPad as a sat nav in a car.

"But if they want it then that's fine [but] if you have a Mini it would take up the whole fricking windscreen!"

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.