I have been using TomTom’s XXL 540S World Traveler for the past two months in multiple locations in the U.S. as well as in the U.K., Germany and France and I can safely say this is a dangerous device. It is dangerous because it effectively leverages historic speed profile data to deliver accurate routing and travel time without live traffic data.
The XXL 540S is dangerous because the effectiveness of its routing, without accessing live traffic data of any kind, turns the growing traffic data industry on its head. The historic speed profile data calculates routes based on historic speed measurements for every time of day and for every road segment, from large highways to small local roads, and includes TomTom’s IQ Routes technology. In comparison to on-board systems with enhanced traffic data, the routing and time of travel on the TomTom was comparable.
I am sure I am not the only user of navigation devices and technologies who has been frustrated with the traffic information experience. I have had both positive and negative outcomes and, in spite of the negatives, I am still a believer in the power and necessity of traffic information. I recently steered clear of purchasing an opening price point PND for the very reason that it lacked traffic information.
But sometimes, one is willing to accept sacrifices to achieve a greater good. In this case, that greater good is a single device for automotive navigation in North America and Europe. The sacrifice of traffic data is a small price to pay especially considering what the cost of adding traffic information for both geographies would likely represent in added subscription fees covering multiple suppliers. (Hint: The first traffic supplier with a universal solution will gain a huge advantage.)
For anyone seeking a single device for vehicle navigation in North America and Europe with built-in traffic camera data and 7M POIs, the XXL 540S is ideal. (The device was even able to locate a runner’s specialty store buried in a mall in Sindelfingen, Germany, as well as functioning in a pedestrian mode trying to locate the next nearest towns in the French countryside outside Geneva.)
On the downside, a shortcoming of the device is its rigid programming. It is not possible to use it as one would Google maps to pick a starting point and destination unrelated to a current location, for example. A more flexible solution will be necessary as user expectations change. If PNDs like the XXL 540S cannot offer functional equivalence to other navigation solutions, consumers will be disappointed.
Switching between maps is also less than intuitive. But I can understand TomTom’s disinclination to add yet another layer to its busy user interface. When entering a destination for a new geography, the user eventually has the option to change the map. The device stores prior routes separately for each different map, which is a nice touch.
In addition, the integration of user evaluations so widely available in competing connected solutions certainly pose a threat to disconnected PNDs like the TomTom device. But as a single function device, the XXL 540S delivers in spite of the missing traffic info and connectivity..
For the XXL 540S World Traveler the combination of on-board data and the access to software updates perfectly substitutes for a more robust offering of regionalized live traffic information. More importantly, the device points the way toward future product development at TomTom and other PND makers.
The pocketable device (yes, even with a five-inch display) is convenient enough for world travel and amazingly, the user will make no sacrifices in POI content or even map updates – additional POIs can be added via the Home application. The device connects to the TomTom Home software application for map updates and other enhancements. Flash has clearly displaced the HDD as the preferred storage medium for PNDs and the XXL 540S has 4GB of storage.
At $299.99 retail (a little pricy) the device also includes TomTom’s “Help Me!” button and lane guidance. The TomTom even showed a roundabout where the on-board system against which it was being compared only showed a standard intersection. Of course, with the map update capability, the TomTom should always have superior map data.
Even as PND makers experiment with larger screens, as in the case of the XXL 540S, the devices themselves will get smaller and prices will continue to fall. Connectivity and more creative deployment of location-aware applications will be critical to the future success of the segment.
http://bit.ly/cMw4f1 Solid Q4
for PNDs, but ‘Free’ Navigation is Shaking Up Monetization (AMCS) – Canali
- A Role for PNDs…If They Get Connected - Blight
- Automotive and Portable Navigation Market Forecast 2008-2016 (AMCS) - Blight