What better way to quickly improve Apple (AAPL) Maps than by buying a company that’s already built a popular mobile navigation platform? Bloomberg reports that Rabobank International analyst Hans Slob estimates there’s a 30% chance that Apple will buy TomTom, the Dutch software developer that has made its name in mobile by delivering a strong iOS navigation app. A merger would make plenty of sense for both companies because, as Slob puts it, “TomTom needs the cash from Apple, and Apple needs the know-how of TomTom.” Needless to say, Apple has come under more pressure to fix its mapping software this week after authorities in Australia said that the application was responsible for stranding several Australians in the middle of a national park with no access to food or water.
TomTom this week released its popular mobile navigation platform as an Android app that’s now available for $38 on the Google (GOOG) Play store. There is a big catch, however, as The Verge reports that the TomTom Android app not only lacks some features such as FourSquare integration that the iOS version has but it also won’t work on several recently-released Android devices including the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 7, the HTC One X, the Galaxy S III, and the Galaxy Note.
In the latest version of Apple’s (AAPL) mobile operating system, the company has replaced Google Maps with its own service. Initial previews of the feature were critical and most agreed that Apple had a long way to go if it was looking to dethrone Google (GOOG). Business Insider spoke with Waze CEO Noam Bardin about the iPhone’s new turn-by-turn directions, and the executive offered little praise. Waze, along with TomTom and some other companies, provides traffic information for the new mapping service, although Bardin’s comments suggest that Apple is relying predominantly on TomTom. More →
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 →
TomTom has announced that its HD Traffic service, originally only available on the Go 2535 M LIVE personal navigation device, is now available for all drivers using its LIVE products. HD Traffic updates drivers every two minutes with road conditions, and it gathers its data from a variety of sources — including from other driers on the road with HD Traffic — to steer you towards the fastest possible route. The service is available on the GO 740 LIVE, XL 340 LIVE, and GO 2535 M LIVE, and TomTom dropped the subscription price from $119.95 per year to $59.95 per year. Hit the jump for the full release. 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 →