”’Pricing: UK maps £59.99; Western Europe £79.99 (either from Apple iTunes/App Store); Car Kit: £99.99 (from TomTom)”’
Since the release of the third iPhone OS generation, a slew of full-bodied sat-nav apps have been announced for Apple’s all-conquering smartphone. The first to hit the TrustedReviews testbed was Navigon’s MobileNavigator, and there’s an iPhone version of ALK CoPilot 8. But the biggest headlines have naturally been garnered by the biggest name in personal navigation devices. TomTom announced its own iPhone offering months ago and now we finally have our hands on the complete package.
TomTom has already distinguished its iPhone implementation by providing car kit hardware as well as software. You can buy the two parts independently, and even use one without the other. The hardware consists of a screen mount with built-in SiRF Star 3 GPS. This can be used with any iPhone, even the original one, so long as it has OS 3.0 or later. The software is only officially compatible with the iPhone 3G or 3GS, but we have seen it running on the original iPhone as well, although not had a chance to try this ourselves.
Aside from including a GPS receiver, which allegedly provides better performance than the one built into the iPhone, the car kit adds a number of additional and improved capabilities. A mini-USB connection hooks up to a car charger, and there’s also a minijack for piping the audio output through your car stereo. So you can listen to music from the iPhone as the app navigates.
However, the music is paused during voice commands, which is a little annoying – particularly as our beta hardware didn’t appear to be outputting its voice commands via the 3.5mm jack, instead just inserting periods of silence. If you don’t use this connection, there’s a speaker on the mount which provides greater volume than the iPhone’s own one. There’s a built-in microphone as well for hands-free calling.