TomTom on Monday lowered its 2011 financial outlook again as consumer interest in dedicated navigation devices dwindles. Despite beating second-quarter revenue estimates, the Dutch company cut its full-year revenue guidance to €1.23 – €1.28 billion from its previously forecasted range of between €1.43 billion and €1.48 billion. This marks the second time this year that TomTom has lowered its 2011 guidance — the company had already reduced its full-year revenue forecast this past April. TomTom made a name for itself selling sleek Personal Navigation Devices that could be mounted in any car to provide the user with voice-guided GPS navigation. Following the emergence of smartphone-based solutions over the past few years, however, dedicated navigation companies like TomTom and Garmin have not been able to recover business lost to free solutions like Google Maps and inexpensive paid mobile solutions such as those offered by CoPilot and TalaNav. TomTom does offer a series of mobile applications, but the relative high price points and the flood of competition have proven to be difficult barriers. More →
Google — noting that 40% of its Google Maps users are on mobile devices — updated its Google Maps Web app for iOS and Android today. We’ve been pretty satisfied with the native applications on Android and iOS, but the website allows you to access many of the options that are available from a desktop browser, too. That includes the ability to view your location, search nearby areas with suggestions and auto-complete, get directions for driving, transit, biking, or walking, view different lays, view Place pages, and access your starred locations. We’re particularly excited about the option for accessing our starred locations, a feature that’s not available in the native iOS application. You can access the revamped interface by visiting maps.google.com from your iOS or Android device. More →
Google Maps has hit a new milestone as the first Android application to surpass the 50 million download mark. The free application has seen many revisions since its public introduction in 2008 — as part of Android 1.6 — and now includes 3D modeling with multi-touch zoom and panning, free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, and support for Google’s Latitude and Places products. Given that it’s available on every iteration of Android — that we can think of — we’re not surprised to learn it’s the most downloaded application ever. Congrats to the Google Maps team. More →
At SXSW, Google’s VP of Location and Local Services, Marissa Mayer, took the stage and dished out some interesting Google data, including mobile stats. During her talk, Mayer revealed the following statistics we found interesting:
- 40% of all Google Maps usage is from mobile devices, and Christmas and New Years day mobile usage surpassed desktop usage for the first time.
- 150 million mobile users on Google Maps
- Google Maps Navigation, included on Android handsets, has guided users 12 billion miles a year, and the latest version with traffic routing saves users 2 years per day in time that would have been spent in traffic.
- Google Maps could get smarter, and become contextually aware. For instance, if you were trying to catch a flight, Google Maps could see your flight schedule to see when your flight was, then look and analyze real-time traffic data and weather conditions to try and figure out the exact time you should leave
- Google would like there to be better Google Maps for iPhone. “We like being the default provider, but we’d like to get some of these updates out to a broader audience. That’s still a debate/question we’re considering.”
With Google’s Android explosion continuing, it looks like there will plenty more Google Maps and Navigation users over the next few years.
Oh Google Maps, is there anything you can’t do? Via a blog post just moments ago, Google announced an incremental update to its Maps application for Android. The update, which is still technically in beta, brings real-time traffic routing right to your smartphone. “You don’t have to do anything to be routed around traffic; just start Navigation like you normally would, either from the Navigation app or from within Google Maps,” reads the announcement. “Before today, Navigation would choose whichever route was fastest, without taking current traffic conditions into account.” The software will work in both North America and Europe, and is waiting for you in the Android Market. Enjoy. More →
It looks like the gang from Mountain View have pushed Google Maps 5.2 to the Android Market. Aside from the standard performance improvements, the update adds the ability to post place-ratings directly to Twitter and “ping” friends to request check-ins. Google reminds you that both parties using Maps must be on version 5.2 to take advantage of the ping feature… so be a friend and remind your amigos to update. More →
On a brisk day in October almost a year ago, Google announced Android 2.0 alongside the Motorola DROID. On that same day, satellite navigation companies like Garmin and TomTom saw their stock prices deflate faster than Yankees fans’ spirits in the sixth inning last night. This was no coincidence. With Android 2.0, Google announced the addition of free satellite-guided turn-by-turn navigation to its popular Google Maps service. Garmin and TomTom both saw mobile as a big part of their futures, and here Google was breaking the space wide open. How can paid services possibly compete?
Netherlands-based navigation giant TomTom found at least one possible answer to that question this morning when it announced a new partnership with HTC. It is becoming increasingly difficult to sell smartphone-based navigation products directly to consumers, so the key is to get manufacturers and carriers to pay for these solutions — and to pay for new solutions that utilize the current Location Based Services (LBS) craze. TomTom, after all, provides much more functional and polished mobile navigation solutions than Google ever will.
The new deal announced this morning places TomTom’s maps in HTC’s new integrated navigation solution, HTC Locations, which HTC calls a “zero-wait navigation experience”. The service will initially be available on the HTC Desire HD and HTC Desire Z, and only in Europe and Asia. HTC Locations will expand to new devices and regions, though no further release schedule was provided.
The catch? HTC Locations will be free to end users, along with some basic functionality. Turn-by-turn navigation, however, will be a premium paid add-on, making it a much less appealing option than it could have been if HTC ate the expense as a value-add. Unless HTC decides to block Google Maps Navigation from its HTC Locations-equipped devices, we don’t see this new deal going very far at all. Sorry TomTom, looks like you’ll have to reroute your trip yet again. More →
How about some news for all you Google Maps enthusiasts? Today, Google has announced the addition of inline Map previews for its Gmail and Buzz products. The new feature will insert an interactive Google Map into your email or Buzz post containing address data or links to Google Maps. However, as Google notes: “Any Google Maps URL will work, but we currently only extract US addresses (we’re working on making addresses around the world work).” The new feature, as with all new Google features, can be switched on via the “Labs” preference pane. Happy mapping. More →
It’s no secret that Google and China aren’t exactly BFFs at the moment, but now Motorola has thrown its hat into the foray in a rather large way in order to protect its own interests and presumably make a nice bit of coin while doing so. As of this quarter, all of Motorola’s Android smartphones sold in China will see Google search and Google Maps replaced by Bing search and Bing Maps. Devices currently in the hands of consumers or sitting unsold on store shelves will be getting an OTA update sometime in the not too distant future. Both Motorola and Microsoft have not announced any specific plans to expand on their partnership outside of China — one could argue it’s already in the US — but based upon our understanding of the term “global alliance”, we don’t doubt for a second that this partnership will be forced upon other markets. More →
Any Motorola DROID owners out there still feeling a bit slighted from Google enabling multitouch for the HTC Nexus One? Well, cheer up. Today, Google released an update to its Maps application — version 3.4.0 — and it brings multitouch pinchy, zoomy functionality to your DROID. Other changes to the new build include:
- Starred items from google.com now sync with maps
- Search suggestions from maps include maps.google.com search history
- Night mode navigation
You can head over to the Android Market to get the latest bits and try out multitouch, and the other goodies, for yourself.
Today, Google announced a new service that it will be giving to popular businesses around the country, a service to be called “Google Favorite Places,” and the idea is fairly simple. Google has mailed customized window stickers to business across the U.S. that are frequently searched for on google.com or in Google Maps — 100,00 have been sent out so far. Each sticker bears a QR barcode ready to be scanned by a cell phone reader, when scanned the code provides a link to Google’s entry for the local business which contains general information, reviews, coupons, and other pertinent information. Favorite Places also has a website were you can check out what Google classifies as a “favorite” in your area. So simple it might work? We’re not sure, but we do have the silent video Google made to go along with this project queued up for you after the break. More →
Windows Mobile and Symbian users don’t ever have to worry about getting lost or having to remember their favorite places again. Google recently announced that Google Maps has been upgraded to version 3.3 for Windows Mobile and Symbian. The upgrade now allows you mark your favorite items with a star and keep those synced between your computer and phone. As soon as you upgrade on your WinMo or Symbian device, Google will ask if you want those starred items synchronized between your phone and Google Account. For those of you that rely on starred items in Google Maps, you’ll also be happy to know that you don’t have to go through each favorite spot individually on your phone. More →