The phrase 'High Definition' is fast becoming as overused and abused as 'environmental' and here is our latest case in point:
TomTom has today announced the availability of 'High Definition Traffic' - yes, you heard me right. Having absolutely nothing to do with TVs or screen resolution, HD Traffic in fact refers to the company's updated and more detailed traffic information service.
Featured on the impending 'TomTom ONE XL HD Traffic' edition, this otherwise unmodified ONE XL will receive updated traffic data every three minutes (5x the norm) and garners information using a combination of traffic authorities, road operators and - most interestingly and controversially - data generated by the movement patterns of mobile phones in cars following a deal with Vodafone.
This latter source troubles me somewhat since 1) Vodafone's customers don't get a say in whether they are monitored and 2) how accurate can tracking the users of just one network be?
Perhaps we should be thankful then that the Dutch company will be guinea pigging its own country first during trials in November. Consequently, the ONE XL HD Traffic launches in Holland this month for 399 euros along with a 9.95 euro monthly service charge. An accessory to enable all TomTom users to receive the service will also be launched in early 2008 when a wider roll-out is expected.
So, in essence, better TMC. Ok. Fine. Good. But was there any real need to confuse an already befuddled public further? What was wrong with 'Premium Traffic'? Words (for once) fail me...