back to article TomTom fights falling satnav sales with iPad app

TomTom has released an app for Apple's iPad as sales of its flagship personal navigation devices (PNDs) continue to fall. The Dutch firm already has an app on iPhone but said the new version, to be released in Autumn this year, would also be optimised for iPads. "Now customers have one App for all iOS devices," Corinne …


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  1. melt

    That's great

    Let me know when you can have custom POIs again.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I suggest you pester TomTom...

      Apparently you can do custom POI files provided you have DiskAid (which accesses the file system on the iDevice directly), but whenever you update your app, you have to do it again.

      I've raised this multiple times with TomTom... make your existing TomTom Home purchases accessible through the iDevice app (things like Traffic HD, voices, custom POIs), as well as more favourites (50 ain't enough if you've converted your POIs to favourites).

      The more people pester them, the more they're likely to look into it.

      1. Robert E A Harvey


        DiskAid? That's not to do with Bono is it?

  2. Conrad Longmore

    TomToms are great

    TomTom PNDs are great, easily better than most phone based satnavs.. but by heck are those map updates expensive..

  3. Arrrggghh-otron

    Gave up waiting years ago...

    I gave up waiting for the Android Tom Tom app years ago.

    1. Karnka

      Title goes here

      Years ago you say, Android has clearly been popular longer than I thought(!)

      (Think before you type)

      1. Arrrggghh-otron

        Yes, years...

        I've had an Android phone since late 2008.

        I waited a year or so before giving up hope that it would be coming to Android any time soon.

        So strictly speaking It hasn't been exactly two years since I gave up waiting. It was meant as a generalisation... an approximation. You can claim fail on that if it makes you happy. Although I guess it depends on your perspective. I mean if we are rounding to the nearest year then it would be closer to two years than one, so that would count as 'years' would it not?

        That said It felt like a hell of a lot longer given that I was using Tom Tom Navigator for 'years' previously on Windows Mobile.

  4. paulc

    Technological Convergence...

    Is the name for this phenomenom...

    Smart phones and "Fondleslabs" will eat the specialised item unless the specialised item has functionality and value which enables it to compete.

    People are already using iPads in their cars with mounts for them to use as moving maps for driving and media players when stationary, although I'm pretty sure there are some stupid users out there who would watch video while driving...

    TomTom have got to seriously work on the features of their hardware or else succumb to being just another app provider...

  5. Erroneous Howard


    Now instead of people going around with a third of their vision blocked by a TomTom in the middle of their windscreen they can effectively block even more of their sight by somehow mounting an iPad in the window.

    I've only tried using an iPad (original) once for navigation, and the satellite reception was so poor I had to give up. The newer ones might have better reception - I couldn't say - but it couldn't be much worse.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Out of interest

      are there any satnavs which will use a BT headset to announce directions ? So that you can hear it over the radio/CD which the kids have on ?

      1. Graham Marsden

        Re: "satnavs which will use a BT headset "

        I don't know about BT Headset, but the TomTom Rider (designed for motorbikes) uses a bluetooth link to a Scala earpiece.

        Only drawback is that they're about twice the price of the standard units because of the extra cost of the headset, waterproofing etc...

      2. A J Stiles


        TomTom ones do that.

      3. Tezfair

        Copilot does BT but.....

        Copilot allows directions over BT, however I turn it off because the BT goes into standby all the time so you miss the start of the direction. Its ok if your playing music over BT to keep the audio alive.

    2. willyampz
      Thumb Up

      tablet navigation

      I velcro my 10" droid-based fondleslab to the dash, right over the radio (not needed) so it doesn't obscure the windshield. I use the built in google navigation and it is awesome! (best with mobile connection, though)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "no plans to release anything for Windows phones"

    Well, fuck you too, TomTom. I'll buy from somebody else.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      I'll buy from somebody else.

      good luck with that.

      Do pop back and let us know how you are getting on.

      if you can find your way.

      1. Insane Reindeer

        Ovi Maps

        Given that Nokia will be providing it's seriously brilliant Ovi Maps when it comes to the WP7 party you will not need anything else!

        1. dogged
          Thumb Up

          Re: Ovi Maps

          Currently I'm using a £4.99 app called Turn by Turn. It works just as well as my old TomTom did. And, er, it cost £4.99. Although I am definitely looking forward to Ovi Maps coming free.

          So once again, fuck you TomTom.

      2. JohnG Silver badge

        @Robert E A Harvey

        "I'll buy from somebody else.

        good luck with that"

        Navigon, iGo, Trafficmaster, .....

        1. Robert E A Harvey

          @JohnG: on WP7?

          AIUI the Navigon WP7 app is still only 'promised'; iGo myway's web site talks only about the iPhone. Trafficmaster's website says it will be available soon on WM6.1, so that's not too promising either.

          I doubt that the correct response to TomTom ignoring WP7 is to change both yer software and yer phone.

  7. IglooDude


    It seems to me that TomToms are to smartphones as typewriters are (were?) to PCs.

    1. captain veg

      Back to the future

      Not so -- I had Tom Tom software on my old Treo. And that really was years ago.


  8. petur
    Thumb Down

    TomToms are NOT great

    At least, not anymore....

    Having upgraded a few times already to newer models, I have already made up my mind that my current device will also be my last one. The quality of their dedicated devices has been falling year over year.

    To give an example, the current One XL that I'm using has a very noisy LCD/backlight (went back to the shop for a replacement the day I got it, replacement was just as noisy, was told this was 'normal').

    The touchscreen is very unresponsive (worse than previous models when the technology actually became better - go figure

    And last but not least, it is bloody slow, way slower than for example the original One I had before that.

    Furthermore, their price plans for map updates are not interesting at all (read: expensive). Must buy a one year update plan (4 updates) even when you only want one update. I'm already buying my POI updates elsewhere for less than half of the TomTom price.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    have been in trouble for a number of years. They used to be at the forefront of sat-navs, then they shafted pocket pc users, the bean counters became involved and slowly and surely they have started to lag behind.

    Poor quality software, poor quality maps, some utterly poor decisions (no custom POI's?!?!?) and a raft of other bean counter measures have left them lacking direction and made a lot of their once loyal customers jump ship.....

    Shame...But as they say, it's tough at the top.....

    1. Solomon Grundy

      Front? Nah.

      They had a decent price for a decent tech. They really were never much compared to units from Garmin or Magellan, TomTom is cheaper though, but ya gets whats ya pays for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not any more...

        A new tomtom 1005, £255. I bought one of these, returned it within hours. Shoddy, at best.

        Even with the LIVE service which is free for a year, it pails in comparison to the garmin 3790t at £238.

        As i said originally, its all profit profit profit and sadly, no amount of money will drag tomtom out of the quagmire they are currently in.....

  10. Stevie Silver badge


    One reason for poor sales *might* be the insane love the bloody thing has for crossing Manhattan no matter what well-known alternative routes exist nor how much those routes are recommended nor for how long they have been known to be alternatives nor how idiotic it is to even consider driving through Manhattan on a Friday night at 4pm when the signposted road directions are made useless due to improvised and undocumented new routes set up on-the-fly by the nycpd "to improve traffic flow".

    True life example: It took me ten minutes of fighting the UI to get it to accept that I'd rather pay a 10 buck toll to cross the Verrazano Narrows Bridge than spend another four hours in gridlocked Manhattan, during which the device insisted it did not know what the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was.

    On the way back I told it to take us across the Outerbridge Crossing (the bridge on the other side of Staten Island) under the assumption that since our destination was Eastern Long Island it could work the rest out for itself and take us across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge by itself. It attempted to plot a route that took us across the Outerbridge Crossing, then north and across the Goethals Bridge (back into New Jersey, 180 degrees wrong from the intended route and completely the wrong State) and - you guessed it - through a tunnel into Manhattan. At rush hour.

    Perhaps it isn't so much an iPad App the TomTom people need so much as a fscking clue.

    The revelation that the company is Dutch suggests a reason for the bizarre agenda though.

    1. JuniorEbuka
      Thumb Down

      No need...

      ...for the racial slur.

    2. Bumpy Cat

      Re: Bah!

      Yeah, well, *clearly* if you'd told the TomTom you were in New Amsterdam it would have worked out the route properly. What is this New "York"?

  11. Red Bren

    TomTom don't give a stuff about their customers

    I bought a TomTom Rider several years ago and subscribed to their traffic service. Updates downloaded through my SE P990i. I was a happy bunny. Then I changed phones. Suddenly, no more traffic updates as the satnav would only use the Bluetooth Dial Up Networking but the phone only supported the Personal Area Networking profile. TomTom blamed the phone manufacturers and suggested i buy their mobile app instead. They didn't have much of an answer when I pointed out that using a phone while riding a motorbike was illegal and why would I want to buy an app when I already owned a satnav?

    Several years and another phone later, TomTom still do not support the PAN profile. If you look at the list of phones that are compatible with their Plus service, it's a trip down memory lane.

    TomTom only have themselves to blame for their decline. They could offer firmware updates for older devices and maintain a revenue stream from subscription services, but they refuse to support existing customers. As phone technology moves on, the number of devices that a TomTom satnav can communicate with falls and their owners will find other solutions.

  12. Test Man


    No custom POIs? Thank God my 2nd gen ONE is still working then!

  13. Just Thinking

    Similar fate for pocket calculators

    I can see high end scientific calculators going the same way at some point. You only need one computer in your pocket, and it is your phone.

    1. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge


      i use my phone for basic stuff, the calculator is more efficient and effective. That and phones must remain in the bag turned Off during exams.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Market penetration?

    Surely the other big hit on their sales is market penetration? These devices reached a pricepoint where they became a great buy but my 4 (?) year old satnav is still performing just fine and I expect it to keep on working without even a map update for another few years yet.

    1. paulc

      Map updates...

      just wait until it tries to take you over a bridge that now designated buses and taxis only and doesn't know at all about the new bypass that's available... As a result, you get hit by the enforcement ANPR camera and don't know about it until a couple of days later when the fixed penalty notice hits the mat...

      Even Google Maps doesn't know about the new rules for Llanthony Road bridge or the new bridge in Gloucester and the bridge has been open over four years now!!!!

      I stay current by using Open Street Map on my Garmin sat nav and the beauty of open street map is that I, the user, can make updates to the map myself

  15. NX1977

    So they want back into smartphone market eh?

    Tomtom screwed over smartphone owners favour of pumping out their own hardware.

    We didn't want yet another bit of tech to lug round so went elsewhere. Now there are so many as good as.or even better free versions with always current maps thanks to data access being pretty standard for many people.

    They shot themselves in the foot and they know it. The only hope back in as an app vender, which is how they started, is via Apple owners who will buy pretty much anything if on offer via itunes.

    Android sales won't be good as we like our stuff free and untouched by Apple! ;)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does this mean tall screens?

    So you can actually see where you're going to be going in map (grown up) mode when travelling < 40mph?

    It's bloody annoying that most satnavs give you more information as to what is to the side of the road than up ahead.

  17. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Similar fate for pocket calculators

    Pocket calculators are still popular, it's nice having real buttons to press rather than waiting for the virtual keyboard to pop up then watching it to make sure that it registered your button press.

    My HP is still close on my desk even though I have Droid48 on my tablet - and a copy of octave on my PC

  18. Vince

    Ah Tom Tom...

    I have just called tomTom because my TomTom Go Live 1005 (UK And Europe) - catchy title nav device has got multiple faults. This I can live with, it happens. I can also say they were quick to open an RMA.

    The only issue is they haven't got any backup functionality for new TomToms like mine, so you cannot backup settings, favourites and saved POIs etc. Boo!

    That is frankly poor, and a shame because when it works, my Sat Nav has been amazing, the Live Traffic Info has saved me sitting in jams numerous times.

  19. Nigel R Silver badge

    Tomtom won by a whisker

    Only recently replaced my old Tomtom Classic with a 1005. Decision was tipped when I discovered that the nearest competitor with Europe maps built in and a must-have 5" screen did NOT have car speed related volume control (that my ancient Tomtom did - another must-have). And TT happened to be running discounts + a trade-in at this moment.

    The 1005 accepts ov2 POI files as of a week ago.

    Either have a phone app or have the best. But agree, TT could do so much better.

    1. Hardcastle the ancient
      Thumb Down


      The new ones don't have the jukebox, or let you move the maps to the SD card when they outgrow the internal memory.

  20. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    iPad as a satnav

    Dear god NO!

    Have enough with people who can't see because they plonk their huge satnav in the middle of their screen, where can you even put it on the dash, are they going to install an app to use the camera to see where they are going?

  21. Jon H

    Android / WinMo6

    Well I hope they hurry up and release an Android version (at a sensible price to compete with what's already out there).

    I had TomTom on my old Windows Mobile 5 and 6 phones and in many ways it was much better than what is available free on Android now, even though it was somewhat dated compared to the iPhone version and their standalone units.

    I've been using the Android free Navigation app and, hmm, well, it kinda gets you there, but creating routes isn't good, it may show you traffic conditions on the maps but it doesn't do anything about heavy traffic. TomTom i smuch better in that respect, especially if you subscribe to the Live Traffic.

    1. Clive Galway

      RE: Android / WinMo6

      There will never be a TomTom on Android - they signed a deal with Route66.

      But you are right though. I was a loyal TomTom customer on WM6 but when they stalled and never released a version with live traffic (But it was on the 1st iPhone version), combined with the atrocious quality of their maps (One update I bought actually made things WORSE in my area) I totally lost all respect for their products.

      Currently on Copilot 8 and really liking it. The recent text-to-speech update brings it on a par with TomTom's instructions (It previously seemed to lack a "Turn left THEN right" prompt) - although the voice is pretty poor at saying names right it is still helpful and helps you learn the names of roads you use.

      Plus it has more features than I had on my TomTom on WM6 (The road type weightings system is great, especially with the profiles - if it is busy here in London I can set it to like side roads and hate main roads and it sends me down sneaky back routes)

      So long TomTom. Don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    PNDs??Not me :-)

    After using a TT One loaned by my father-in-law, with the damn thing making a loud sssh, I just returned it and searched for the best combination as possible. I've been an happy user of Sygic on my Nokia 5800Xpress since June. What can I say, the best and trustworthy gps software I ever used :-).

  23. Solomon Grundy

    Just Buy a Real Unit or Stop Whinging

    Maybe I'm biased but the Garmin units I've used for years are not too expensive and you get free lifetime map updates, including construction bypasses. They work well out in the country (TomTom fails miserably at that here in the U.S.) and even better in urban areas. It is cheaper to buy upfront with free maps/updates than pay all the time: especially if you are going into a big city.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      *I* don't get free map updates

      and I bought mine in 2008

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still mostly satisfied TomTom customer

    In 2003 I bought an IPaq2210 (HP PDA) with TomTom2, for the sole purpose af having navigation. I updated this to TT3, and has overall been satisfied. This device is now pretty battered and really needs a new battery. It takes a few minutes to lock on to satelites, but still works acceptably. The roads don't change that much where I need to go.

    In 2007 I bought a Go720 because I wanted something newer and faster, and TomTom didn't update their Windows CE application anymore. This device still works perfectly, and I don't foresee the need to actually buy a new PND like that again. Through 2011 I have map updates, but that's it for money spent on the Go720, as it's annoying having to maintain a Windows machine for the sole purpose of handling my Go720.

    In 2011 I thought about the 1005, but dropped the idea. Still locked to windows, and no SD-card. I got my first mobile phone instead. You read that correct, I haven't had a private mobile phone before august 2011.

    Now i've got a Samsung Galaxy S2. If my Go720 breaks before TomTom comes out with an app for it, I'm sure that I can manage without TT. If TT comes out with an Android version comparable to my Go720, then they got a customer. If they wait too long, then Google Maps and like offerings will have caught up on the features I want. At that point, I'll probably stop being a potential TT customer.

    I really don't want to run around with anymore devices than necessary, and the phone has become necessary.

    At the moment, it's TomTom's choice if they want any more money from me. All they have to do is deliver something I want to use at a price I'm willing to pay (approx 50-100 euro).

  25. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "No plans to release anything for Windows phones"

    That couldn't have anything to do whit MSFT shafting 'em over the FAT filesystem patent, would it?

  26. Downside
    Thumb Up

    phone maps??

    Free mapping via smartphones are great if you've got perfect reception to download the maps on the move, and aren't roaming to a different country where you have to pay a million pounds for a K of data.

    I must be the only person with no problems with the TT's I've used, whereas I find the UI and performance of the Garmin units to be pretty poor IMHO.

  27. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Don't need no stinkin' SatNav. Good old dead trees map and a bit of forward planning works for me.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I was the same ...

      until I stumbled upon the fact that a satnav will REROUTE YOU AUTOMATICALLY in the event of road closures, or intolerable traffic. Something impossible if you are driving and relying on maps.

      Nowadays, for any non-local journey - even if I've done it several times - I put the satnav on, safe in the knowledge that if there's a road closure, or accident, I will be guided to my destination with no drama.

      Invaluable a couple of months ago, when they M5 was completely shut both ways between 3 and 4 due to an accident (ai ambulance had to land), and I had to come off and use local roads.

  28. Bernd Felsche

    TomTom UI pretty good. Hardware marginal. Updates Expensive. Upgrades Impossible.

    They should focus on the software and bringing the cost of map updates down or they will lose all customers. Lack of support for Linux-based systems is a PITA.

    Some years ago, I purchased TomTom Navigator for Palm Treo. The user interface was good. Quick to learn for basic use. It crashes the Treo most often when one really, really doesn't want to spend 2 minutes rebooting, etc. Map updates for that version haven't been available for quite a few years.

    So while I was in Europe earlier this year, I bought a TomTom XXL to guide me through unfamiliar territory. It got me from Merseburg to Pilsen and then to Mindelheim. When trying to plan some further trips it kept crashing. I eventually figured out that it'd lost the ability to write to its internal flash memory as it couldn't even restore to factory settings without an "unable to write" error message.

    The merchant (chain) was very helpful and I picked up a replacement in Sigmaringen, with a partial refund for a necessary "downgrade" to XL. The replacement unit worked flawlessly for the following weeks. The unit was passed to a worthy recipient as slightly-used, prior to my return to the Rule under Empress Gillard.

  29. Gordon861

    Time Running Out

    TomTom really need to up their game or they will be in big trouble soon.

    I don't think it'll be long before cars start appearing with a 5 inch Android based interface for the radio and other in car computer functions hardwired into the dash.

    GoogleMaps already allows you to download a map area so you don't need a phone connection so it would be pretty easy to allow you to use maps downloaded on you PC ans stored on an SD card.

    The same unit could also give you full access to the OBD fault codes and diagnostics on your car without needing to buy a specialised reader.

    1. Hardcastle the ancient


      >The same unit could also give you full access to the OBD fault codes

      Could, but won't. Vested interests run the car business.

  30. Rob Daglish

    On the Other Hand...

    On the other hand, I have a really good satnav in my car. It's tied in with the audio system, and works very well. In fact, it beats TT hands down. So I said goodbye to my TomTom and just use that now. It gives better instructions, has a decent sized screen with clear directions, and doesn't block any windscreen at all. So I won't be buying a silly TT app for my iPad either. Not looking good for TT really is it?

  31. David Cantrell

    Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.

    I bought the Tomtom iPhone app ages ago. I now use Copilot instead, for one reason and one reason only. With Tomtom, you can't easily plan an itinerary more complex than "go from A to C via B", and you can't save that at all. With Copilot, I can plan far more complex itineraries - eg go from A to D via B and C, then back via E - and I can save several of them in advance of my trip. Being able to plan such itineraries in advance is essential.

    About the only thing Tomtom does better is that its speed camera warnings are far less annoying.

  32. Shao

    TomTom's Customer Support is poor

    TomTom killed the APIs from TomTom v6 to TomTom v7 and didn't value their business customer base. Customer service is the worst I've seen.

    They new when they went for the consumer market that if they charged £80 when their competitors were free or around £20, that no-one buy their software.

    They saw it coming and didn't care.

    There are good reasons why integration is now with CoPilot or Google Maps.

    Their standalone units are still okay though.

  33. John Tserkezis

    TomTom don't give a stuff about their customers #

    You think?

    When they started, support in Australia consisted of a Dutch-based fax number.

    Reportedly, they DID actually answer your queries though, so that makes it all right then.

    Then they had a local (Sydney) sales and service outlet.

    Then that sales and service outlet became a sales outlet.

    Then the friends who had TomToms (after I tried to tell them not to) said it was cheaper to replace the entire unit rather than upgrade the maps.

    Today, I tell everyone to buy whatever the hell they like. They don't listen to me anyway.

    Probably for the best...

  34. Rhubarb
    Thumb Down

    Support is woeful

    Every time you update the maps the favourites get trashed or the thing just doesnt work or freezes/reboots, is a widely known issue. Tomtom support answer? "delete mapsettings.cfg every time you update" well thats great not only does it reset many preferences it wipes any favourites you have stored.

    I went Tomtom for the Live services and that is quite good but the support and update issue will mean I will be going elsewhere for my next device/software....

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