Smartphones and Navigation Devices: A Complementary Guide

During our final moments at CES, we ventured to a secluded meeting area in the South Hall to engage with Tom Murray, the Senior Vice President of Market Development at Tom Tom. Having frequently discussed Tom Tom’s offerings on TUAW, it was enlightening to converse directly about their strategies and insights.

Intriguingly, Murray highlighted that Tom Tom does not view smartphones like the iPhone as adversaries in the market for portable navigation devices (PNDs). Rather, he regards these platforms as enhancing and complementing their GPS products.

Despite acknowledging the influence of smartphones on the PND market, Murray pointed out that Tom Tom’s success with various regional apps on the iOS Store has been beneficial to their business.

The highlight at the CES was the introduction of the Go 2505m Live model, set to launch in April. This device promises several enhancements including the HD Traffic service. This feature not only gathers road data from Tom Tom’s devices across the US but also integrates data from partner vehicles to provide real-time traffic updates and precise navigation. While this service is not yet available on the iPhone app in the US (though it is operational in Europe), Murray suggested that it’s likely to be incorporated into the app eventually.

Additionally, Tom Tom has recently integrated a “MapShare” feature into their iPhone app, which has already processed over 14 million validated user-generated map updates.

Murray also discussed the concept of “multiplatform navigation,” where smartphones could interact with car navigation systems to exchange route information. Despite the enhancements to the iPhone app, Murray noted that its usage still pales in comparison to their dedicated PNDs, which remain popular among drivers.

When queried about potential navigation solutions for the iPad, Murray acknowledged the distinct usage patterns between Apple’s smartphones and tablets, which might not suit in-car navigation due to safety concerns. However, he did not rule out future possibilities and emphasized that safety remains a top priority for all their devices. As the market evolves, particularly with Android gaining traction, Tom Tom remains open to exploring all avenues.

It was indeed a pleasure to discuss these topics with a Tom Tom executive.


Christopher is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest updates and insights on all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail, Christopher covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest macOS updates. His articles are a go-to source for Apple enthusiasts looking to stay informed about their favorite products, including the iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBook. Christopher’s commitment to delivering accurate and engaging content makes him a valued member of the TUAW team.