With the world of dedicated GPS devices becoming ever more challenged by smartphones, laptops and - dare I say it - tablets, you could be forgiven for being surprised to see this...
TomTom has licensed arguably its most exciting technology of recent years to rival Mio for its new line of Navman GPS. IQ Routes uses historic car speed measurements on roads at specific times of the day to calculate the best journey and it now appears in the Navman '470' (below), '475' and '575' (above). On top of this Mio also throws in its own proprietary tech: 'LearnMe', which takes note of the roads you like to drive on over time and automatically adapts its route options to individual preferences. Combined with IQ Routes, it makes for an attractive package.
The same can be said of the physical hardware, with the 470 and 475 offering 4.3in touchscreen displays and the 575 upping this to 4.7 inches. On top of this, both lines come with 12 months free real time traffic and safety camera information, QuickSpell smart keywords when entering addresses, SiRFStar's near industry defacto InstantFix location locking tech and 'Google Send-to-GPS' which enables addresses and directions to be sent from Google Maps directly to these devices.
Interestingly, late last month TomTom launched the entry level Start2 and XL which brought IQ Routes to new price lows of just £119 and £139 respectively. With this in mind Mio pulls something out of the bag with the Navman 470 coming in at just £99 with Western European maps included and prices top out at £149.99 for the Navman 575 (also with Western European mapping). All models will launch in May.
Will TomTom be annoyed at these RRPs? Unlikely. The Dutch giant has long realised its future - and that of any successful GPS company - will be founded around licensing the software behind its success as more multifunctional products amalgamate basic GPS operation. Consequently this is a smart move, though also an enforced one.