Can’t be beaten
THE RISE OF THE mobile phone and its super powers in making other gadgets redundant have changed the game for providers of GPS products. The likes of Garmin and TomTom have been forced to deal with a market of mobile phones fitted with GPS chips that are quickly displacing conventional personal navigation devices. However, they saw it coming and are now the best providers of navigation software for cellphones.
TomTom’s iPhone application is quite possibly the most sophisticated personal navigation system available. It incorporates live traffic information – billed at an additional subscription fee – that routes you around problem areas. It integrates with the iPod application on the phone so you can listen to music, with the ability to skip tracks and pause without switching applications. It even has an audio book mode that pauses the audio playback when it’s giving directions instead of just dipping the volume, as it does with music.
The software does pretty much everything you could do with a dedicated TomTom GPS. It can store locations, it allows you to navigate to addresses of contacts in the cellphone’s address book and make and receive calls while still being able to view visual guidance to where you want to go.
And then there’s the really clever stuff. TomTom recently added a feature allowing you to tap on a photo of your destination and its software will attempt to guess where it is and take you there. A technology called IQ Routes will track the speed of other vehicles on your route and give you a very accurate indication of your arrival time. You can add meeting times to your cellphone’s diary to TomTom and the software will alert you when you need to leave in order to arrive on time.
There’s even an “Eco route” option for drivers concerned about the environment, which will calculate the most environmentally friendly way in terms of fuel consumption and the like.
TomTom regularly sends updated map information to its software and you can share map data with other users. TomTom also has an optional iPhone cradle to mount the phone in your car and boost GPS signal.
It’s hard to imagine a better navigation system than one that lives on your phone but doesn’t hold back on any features. I’d go so far as to say the TomTom for iPhone is the best personal navigation experience I’ve had.