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back to article TomTom GO 6000 satnav chews on smarties and tablets

During the launch of the revamped TomTom Go series of satnavs earlier this year, the company reeled off some interesting statistics that revealed a considerable chunk of motorists don’t bother with satnavs - 39 per cent, in fact. And of those 39 per cent, only 4 per cent were considering buying into the technology in the next 12 …

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WTF?

How Much????!!!

I used to like TomTom stuff, but you can get a cheap 7inch tablet that'll do more for way less.

Buy the TomTom program for it if you like (sorry, hate the term "app").

Can't see them in the hardware business much longer.

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Re: How Much????!!!

Same here. When I had my smartphone I was good with the freebie. I only picked up a satnav when I ditched the phone. My biggest gripe is that I still can't get the damn updates to load.

The fact of the matter is, 90%+ of the time I'm traveling on roads I know. I don't need something mapping for me during that time. If I'm headed somewhere I don't know the roads, chances are very high I have at least one other person with me who can act as navigator while I pay attention to traffic. Which makes it a real splurge to spend on a satnav.

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Re: How Much????!!!

Trouble is, if they aren't in the hardware business, then they are selling pure software. Which puts them directly in competition with Google Maps and Apple Maps, which may not be perfect, but which are free. Free (especially when coupled with "pretty good") is difficult to compete with.

GJC

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Re: How Much????!!!

googlemaps is terrible for navigating roads in a car though. TomTom will become niche. CoPilot is my choice of software on my phone and since I can put my phone into its grippy cradle in the car (and charge it at the same time) it is preferable to a physical "one purpose" tomtom.

Also for £300 this is horrifically expensive. Better off getting a dual core "old" smartphone and buying dedicated offline nav software. At least your smartphone can do much more. If you are that bothered about a "poor" GPS then a Bluetooth module will set you back £10 on ebay and these can sit in the car permanently.

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Re: How Much????!!!

For £300, buy a Nexus 7, the Brodit car mount and the TomTom App.

A 7" SatNav sitting next to the mobile phone on the dash is very useful.

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It works...sometimes

Tom Tom's LIVE update (which costs about £60/year) is quite good at telling me about delays when I've already been stuck in them for a few minutes. I believe the raw data comes from other vehicles using Tom Tom kit that can dial out (so if they're moving at 5mph on a 60mph road, there is congestion) so it depends on Tom Tom market penetration and also on how many people have enabled the sharing feature.

There is also a spurious "no through road" in the database which tries to prevent me from getting to my house the most obvious way.

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Re: It works...sometimes

Sounds like what Google do with their Maps. Considering the penetration there, I think TomTom are going to lose out with this feature.

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Re: It works...sometimes

Personalty I like the hardware. I don't want the hassle of trying to use my Smart-phone as a SatNav, especially when my TomTom does such a good job (mine is the more expensive one which doesn't need a phone to get traffic updates).

I agree that you often end up in traffic jams, only then to see a warning appear but they're almost always traffic jams which have just happened and so there's no way for TomTom to know. It does now seem to have a reasonable idea of where common traffic jams appear and it directs me on a reasonable route.

I've also found fewer problems around tall buildings than in the past and it seems to do a better job of showing me which lane to use than the older versions.

I've travelled all over Europe with and nad it seems fairly good, not perfect but better than the Google alternative I tried.

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Re: It works...sometimes

TomTom use anonymised, aggregated data from all Vodafone subscribers, not just the SIM installed in TomTom units, so HD Traffic isn't dependent on a critical mass of sat navs being on the road.

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Commuter nav

I commute out from the middle of Birmingham to a satellite town every morning, and back into the city at night. The evening commute is normally the worse. There are a number of different overall routes that can reasonably be taken, with the most usual having 3 legs, with a couple of possible routes for each leg.

I used to use Google Nav purely for traffic information, until the last update cocked it up completely and removed the option to check alternative routes in real time.

What I really want is an Android app that can be programmed with the routes in advance, and using accurate real time traffic information tell me what the quickest way home is. Google used to be a fair approximation of this, but they've gone for UI bling instead of usability (who the hell wants to start navigating from somewhere other than 'here' anyway, why must it now ask every time?). I'd be prepared to pay at least £50 for such an app. Are you listening, TomTom?

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Re: Commuter nav

No.

Our marketing people tell us there is no market for that. And they have a big budget, so they must be right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Commuter nav

If you hate the new Google Maps (as I do), you can remove it by going into the App store, selecting "My Apps", scroll down to "Maps", select it, and then uninstall it. Presto, you now have a usable Maps app instead of the new pile of garbage. Remember to always refuse to update it.

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Re: Commuter nav

have to tried Waze? never let me down, so far anyway..

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Avoid costly speeding camera updates / fines

... by not speeding.

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Trollface

Re: Avoid costly speeding camera updates / fines

I agree speeding should be discouraged. But we all know that the cameras are not there for safety, right? If that were the case there would be no profit motive...

And here in the USA were it is policemen with guns that do that speeding check, one is particularly careful to "go with the flow"...

P.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Avoid costly speeding camera updates / fines

If you're the sort of person who rigidly obeys say a 40mph speed limit on an arrow straight dual-carriageway, in the middle of the night, with no other traffic and no obvious enforcement nearby; then I contend sir that you have no brain and no soul.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Avoid costly speeding camera updates / fines

No brain, no soul...and no points on my licence. I'll take that option.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Avoid costly speeding camera updates / fines

You should know the rule by now.

Obey all the red circle signs. Black stripe on white is where the fun begins.

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Re: Avoid costly speeding camera updates / fines

I had my car run into by one of your superbrain people... he somehow found it too hard to distinguish between "no other traffic" and "no other traffic apart from Joe"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Avoid costly speeding camera updates / fines

"Black stripe on white is where the fun begins."

Used to be. But the planet sized brains in local government have been progressively plastering every road they can with lower speed limits, even if 60 has been the limit for the previous fifty years, suddenly it's now 40. On a one mile dead straight rural road for example. Funnily enough it gets routinely ignored. Seems to be part of an unannounced and coordinated red flag policy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Avoid costly speeding camera updates / fines

"it's now 40. On a one mile dead straight rural road for example"

I think you live near me!

Problem is you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Do 40, and you have the a**e hole's up your a**e hole trying to drive through you - do 47 and there is a policeman with a zapper in the layby that day who's had a fall out with their missus. I have points & a speed awareness course (should have taken the points on reflection) under my belt already, so no I won't be going over the limit as I need to be able get to work, and a ban / excessive insurance would prevent that, but part of my can understand their frustration...

All that said... TomTom just need to make Bluetooth GPS receivers and the best route planning software like they did back in the day if they want to remain relevant. Screen size on phones is pretty huge now, so they can't win on that angle anymore. I usually use google maps now, which is pretty good for free (map caching is too fiddly)... But I do have an old-ish Garmin in the car for emergencies (e.g., no mobile signal / map not cached), and that's just fine, as chances are, if there is no mobile signal, the road won't have changed much in the past 5 years.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Avoid costly speeding camera updates / fines

Never mind speed limits, it seems to me the drivable speed in UK is increasingly being governed by pedal cyclists, especially large groups, impossible to pass without knocking one off (and that seems to annoy them).

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Caveat Emptor

My TomTom is great except...

It takes it so long to connect to the traffic server that any time it might save me by avoiding traffic would be used up by my sitting in the car for 15 minutes waiting for it to connect.

I can save you time contacting the help desk; the answer will be to reformat the device. No matter what the problem is the first remedy will be "Go to this web page and follow the instructions to re-format the disk". I think that even if I told them that I'd scratched the screen the fix would be to re-format the disk,.

The device re-sets itself randomly - usually when I'm in the middle of a complicated one-way system.

The speed read-out freezes when I enter an average speed camera zone.

If the current location is not a road on its map (e.g .a car park in a new industrial area) then it cannot create a route.

BTW - when I said "great" above, I meant crap.

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Re: Caveat Emptor

The Tom Tom help desk. Oh god!

[puts head in hands and starts wailing]

They are slow and fecking useless. My device bricked itself after an update earlier this year (a known issue), took me 3 days to get to a 2nd line support person who was knowledgable and helpful. The 1st line lot will sap every drop of strength from your will to live!

Actually worse than BT's fault reporting line.

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Re: Caveat Emptor

Oh - I forgot to mention the fact that they stop supporting stuff after 4 years. When I tried to buy a spare lead for my Tomtom they no longer make them. If my dock or car mount breaks then I have to bin the device and buy a new one. It's a proprietary connector - not USB. They clearly hate customers.

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Re: Caveat Emptor

"If my dock or car mount breaks then I have to bin the device and buy a new one. It's a proprietary connector - not USB. They clearly hate customers."

I have no idea what you are on about here. The charger connector on ANY TomTom over the last few years has been a standard USB mini B plug. Sure the plug is shaped a bit funny to recess into the housing a bit, but its still standard USB mini B.

Also, China is your friend. You can get a cradle or dock or charging cable for any of the old model TomToms for far cheaper than the original from ebay, banggood, DX.com, etc. The quality will be not all that great, but if it works, who cares.

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Re: Caveat Emptor

You're right - you have no idea what I'm on about. There's no USB Mini B connector on my TomTom Go 540 Live. The connector is proprietary.

Whether you're correct or not about China being able to provide a screen mount, it's still the case that TomTom has effectively discontinued hardware support for my TomTom only 4 years after I bought it. My experience with their "support" staff is all the evidence I need that they don't give a toss about customers once they have spent their money. However, should I require more evidence then my 3 hour trip yesterday when the device was unable to access the traffic service for the whole journey would help.

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Re: Caveat Emptor

My 1005 uses a proprietary connector that doesn't even seem to be shared with many other models in the TomTom range. It certainly does NOT use any standard mini or micro USB connector.

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Optional

I think that's the same 'mag latched' connector as the 1000 go Live!. This is not a very old product, although you could argue that it has now been made obsolescent by the newer 400/500/600/6000 series.

As far as I've been able to tell, you have never been able to get a lead for this connector from a physical store of any of the 'usual suspects' for sat nav sales (eg, Half-frauds, Currys, John Lewis). Maybe they have existed and I've missed it, but I've just never seen one.

This seems like poor support.

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Wants: Forward planning using a stored route

I've plumped for the TomTom on Android program (yes - I hate 'App' as well) having previously used Copilot. The 'features' which irk the reviewer eg 'via' malarkey are also a feature of the Android program. I drive to-from south Manchester-Liverpool daily (just love Thelwall Viaduct..) - I know the route very well - been doing it for 17+yrs - and have to say TomTom is far better than the Copilot with respect to

: - alternative routes (Copilot deems the Runcorn bridge as non-existent and I DO NOT want to go to the M60 as a diversion!);

: - traffic delays/incidents - does tell me on MY routes well in advance (market penetration in the NW perhaps)

: - MUCH better at giving a reasonably accurate estimated arrival time and clearing them as they resolve - Copilot quite often wildly out even by my r'n'r reckoning.

What really falls down at TomTom is setting a route as a saved route (for recurring future use) - recalling it and letting it advise you as you start out on the defined route. Seems the reviewer found a similar 'feature' irksome (it's the only reason I keep the Copilot).

I also think that it won't be long before they move out of hardware altogether, although there must be a market for those people who cannot drive/don't want to drive a smartphone - e.g my father-in-law, (actually he can't drive a satnav either but that's another story)

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Re: Wants: Forward planning using a stored route

Beauty of a smartphone means you can afford a cheap smartphone and BOTH apps for less than this tomtom so you can choose which one you prefer...

Oh and Runcorn bridge appears on my co-pilot. http://postimg.org/image/pruxupirb/

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Smartphone NAV is all well & good...but...

...if you are in areas with weak...or non-existent cell service...and there ARE areas in the US and other countries like this...then cell based NAV is completely useless.

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Re: Smartphone NAV is all well & good...but...

most smartphones have GPS built in (slower than aGPS granted) but an external "proper" Bluetooth GPS module is peanuts. Copilot and tomtom are both "offline" capable too.

I use co-pilot on a galaxy S2 quite successfully in Belgium and France where I operated in "radio off" mode for my holiday so you can get away without the cell "assist".

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JDX
Gold badge

a considerable chunk of motorists don’t bother with satnavs - 39 per cent, in fact

I'm surprised it's only 39%, so many people in late middle age and above don't use them and see no need to, they've managed for decades without needing hand-holding turn-by-turn help!

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Re: a considerable chunk of motorists don’t bother with satnavs - 39 per cent, in fact

Agreed. Where they help out is plotting on-the-fly alternative routes without pulling glovebox maps out. Or telling you about traffic issues. I used to be a service technician where time was money, a satnav certainly helped me. that being said they are tools and I would never rely totally on what the satnav told me.

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Re: a considerable chunk of motorists don’t bother with satnavs - 39 per cent, in fact

A Satnav is a tool like any other. I have mine plugged in and turned on if I'm on any long distance journey because it will tell me what the traffic is doing ahead and I can punch up alternate routes if there is a jam. I don't have to blindly follow it and I usually check what route it's suggesting beforehand to see if I agree!

Sods law says the one time you don't have it running is when you run into a major jam.....

Back in 2006 I had my first Tom Tom which had a GPRS connection via my mobile phone to their original traffic service. I was travelling from Stockport to the South Coast and both the M6 and M1 were jammed up. Satnav took me cross country, avoiding all the jams (2 hour delays reported on the M6) and got me to my destination only half hour late. Didn't see one jam.

That day convinced me that a traffic service combined with a sat nav was a worthwhile thing to have,

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Anonymous Coward

Key add-on I want to see

Now when will Tom Tom, Garmin or whoever finally add a dongle to plug into the car's OBDII port to get real time speed information. That would be a huge plus in urban canyons. My current unit tries to extrapolate position based on its last guess of speed. That's great, unless I hit a red light during a patch of low GPS signal.

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Happy

Re: Key add-on I want to see

better still, simply have the "program" on your phone connect to the bluetooth OBDII dongle you bought down at Autozone or of Amazon... We could see some seriously useful maps then ;-)

I understand google uses android phone pings to feeds its traffic information. Anyone know what else is used?

P.

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Re: Key add-on I want to see

"add a dongle to plug into the car's OBDII port"

Garmin do. It's not especially cheap. It does all sorts of stuff including keeping accurate track of fuel usage, and displaying ECU data/errors etc. I quite like the idea, but not the price.

My 1450 does a pretty good job of assessing fuel usages, MPG, average accelleration and braking and so on through its Eco functions. The OBDI port connection would improve that but the cost is too high to go from "good enough" to "very good"

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Re: Key add-on I want to see

Or just incorporate a semi-decent IMU in the system and you can get quite accurate internial navigation with just a bit of math.

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Why the hardware?

Why do they even think of linking to your phone for data download?

When for £35 you can have TomTom on your phone or £27 you get (the better) Co-pilot both covering the whole of Europe?

App on your phone wins as it's

a) Cheaper

b) Not another box

c) Has data update built in with extra effort

d) It's with you anyway

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why the hardware?

I go hill walking quite a lot and find that a dedicated GPS is far better that phone app because it seems to be better at acquiring and retaining satellite signals or interpolating location when too little satellite data (canyon, forest). I assume that's down to better electronics software and aerials - so does the same apply to TomTom vs Phone? Does the fact that TomTom is normally running on power from the vehicle mean it can be less sparing of power consumption than a mobile phone where normal operation is reliant on battery - and so TomTom can run more demanding hardware/software?

My (aged) TomTom has a connector for an external antenna on the roof of the car. Given how weak the satellite signals are, I'm a little surprised that the signal can be picked up fairly well within the vehicle but at least the external antenna option is available - but not on a mobile phone.

I do prefer a dedicated SatNav however I am drawn to the view that TomTom's days are numbered because they aren't innovating enough to justify the cost differential between dedicated device and App. How about a model with integrated dash-cam for example? I've got a dashcam, front and rear camera and separate GPS antenna £60 from China so surely a TomTom could integrate that extra function for little extra cost - and given the rear camera surely that could be made to operate as a reversing cam too.

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Used to be a fan

I first started using TomTom back in the days when it had to be installed on a PocketPC with a serially-connected GPS receiver. Postcodes required a third-party app which fed co-ordinates back to TomTom's app.

But they're a spent force now. I use Waze on my phone. It's free, I get realtime hold-up data and I can see live travelling speeds on the roads. If I ever get bored of it I can install another app. Why would anyone pay for a separate device that offers no more functionality than you get for free?

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Re: Used to be a fan

Sometimes it is better to have 2 devices doing 2 separate things.

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PJI
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Re: Used to be a fan

I agree, a dedicated device can be better: it's not convenient when telephone calls come and you want your passenger to answer the important call or to ring your destination for you while trying to follow some tricky part of the route, or you stop to get a cup of tea and have to pause the thing, if you can work out how, so that it stops telling you to turn around as you enter the lavatory.

I use Tomtom on my mobile: have done for about three years, it is excellent especially as, with all the maps in the 'phone, when in Serbia or France or UK (live elsewhere), it still works without running up an unspeakable data bill. The programme is not cheap; but updates are free and it works very well. As with a chrome book, why would one want any device for travelling that relies upon a data connection or wi-fi? Even within one's home region, I should hate to find that one is driving through a mobile signal dead spot just as one hits a tangle of interesting roads and lanes in some unknown area. Also data roaming charges could soon exceed the cost of good software or a Tomtom device.

An especially nice feature is to tell it the road ahead is blocked and have it work out a useful, alternative route. This saved hours on several occasions.

I've used it for driving, walking and cycling; to my surprise, the cycling instructions found even a grass/gravel track that cut off a nasty, major road junction in some obscure part of France.

Having said that, the old, free Nokia maps in my ancient S60 OS Nokia was rather good too and both are much better than Google. None replace a touch of healthy scepticism and attention to the actual road. After all, the programmers and DBAs who prime the devices are almost human with all the fallibility that that implies.

I just wish it provided more silly voices, as on the Tomtom hardware :).

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Waze anyone|?

One of the big issues with any of the "mainstream" (I've used Tomtom and CoPilot) is that, whilst the maps are on the device, they are often out of date! (Like missing the Runcorn bridge...)

Waze is community supported (users report traffic jams, stopped cars, police(!), accidents - and more importantly can report **and fix** mapping and navigation errors)

It is supported on Android and I-things.

Yes, it needs a data connection when planning a route, but it doesn't use much data even on quite a long trip (which is done by a central server setup)...

(Happy Chrimbo, all!)

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Re: Waze anyone|?

http://postimg.org/image/pruxupirb/

Runcorn bridge appears on my CoPilot. Cant say ive ever had an issue with co-pilot.

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WTF?

Am I the only one astounded that 61% of the population has Sat Navs?

Whatever is wrong with maps and road signs?

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Anonymous Coward

"Whatever is wrong with maps and road signs?"

Lots.

Paper maps still need updating, and wear out quickly if well used

Paper maps are too small a scale to show useful detail (unless you're planning on carrying with you and unfolding an OS 1 inch map to see where you are)

Unless you're Mad Eye himself, you can't look at a paper map and the road safely (noting risks of satnav distraction)

Road signs aren't much good for re-routing if there's a problem

Road signs indicate the route road planners would like you to take, not shortest, quickest, or easiest.

Road signs are very patchy when off the main roads.

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Stop

Plan ahead?

OK, whatever is wrong with stopping for a few minutes to have a look at your map? Maybe even stretch your legs and get some fresh air? People have a weirdly iron resolve never ever to halt no matter how lost.

In reality, if going somewhere new and nontrivial, I plan. Using google maps, and sometimes streetview, virtually "walking" the fiddly bits in advance a couple of times so that when I get there in the car it's already fairly familiar. Being able to recognise a pub or shop or junction heading for eg. a hotel in central Northampton, is massively useful.

All these products seem to be for people who refuse to take any time in advance to make their own lives easier - or are too dumb or lazy to be able usefully to do so. It's all about saving 20 minutes the day before.

But I will concede that online live data is best if there's unexpected congestion; but then if it's really really bad you'll be stationary for long enough to look at that map - and maybe your phablet - anyway....

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