Bells and whis­tles

Finweek English Edition - - TECH TRENDS -

GPS DE­VICE COM­PA­NIES Garmin and TomTom are try­ing ev­ery trick in the book to keep sell­ing stand­alone nav­i­ga­tion de­vices in the face of a mar­ket where cell­phones are tak­ing over. Their lat­est at­tempts in­clude in­cor­po­rat­ing live up­dates to guide you past traf­fic jams. Garmin is do­ing that in part­ner­ship with Altech Net­star, as re­viewed in Fin­week (22 July). TomTom uses in­for­ma­tion from Tracker and has a dif­fer­ent de­liv­ery method. We tested this with the TomTom GO 750 Live.

TomTom’s Live ser­vices fea­ture more than just traf­fic in­for­ma­tion: there are also speed cam­era track­ing and even weather ser­vices that will tell you what cli­mate to ex­pect at your des­ti­na­tion. Con­nect­ing to TomTom Live is done us­ing cel­lu­lar net­works with a Vo­da­com SIM card embed­ded in the de­vice.

My first ex­pe­ri­ence with TomTom’s Live HD traf­fic sys­tem was on a drive home from the of­fice through heavy rush-hour traf­fic. The de­vice alerted me there was traf­fic on the route but could pro­vide a quicker route that avoided the jams, which I agreed to. But 15 min­utes later I was in a ter­ri­ble back-up. I made a U-turn and re­verted to my usual route, which was flow­ing far more freely. Not a great in­tro­duc­tion to Live, though sub­se­quent at­tempts proved more fruit­ful.

Traf­fic aside, the 750 is a great de­vice with Blue­tooth hands-free sup­port for phones that worked well with my iPhone. Dis­ap­point­ingly, TomTom has re­moved FM trans­mis­sion from the 750 that al­lowed its ear­lier de­vices to send au­dio to the car’s ra­dio, en­abling it to play mu­sic and other au­dio files.

Other than that, the 750 is packed with fea­tures, in­clud­ing voice con­trol and sup­port for Google on­line lo­cal search. A one-year sub­scrip­tion to the Live ser­vice is in­cluded but there­after charged at R499/year.

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