UPDATE: Our TomTom XXL 540TM page has been posted.
Well, well. In what could be the biggest news coming out of CES in terms of auto GPS this year, TomTom has announced that they will offer Lifetime Map Updates, a feature that will be incorporated into a range of TomTom units released in 2010.
At first I thought TomTom’s acquisition of Tele Atlas paved the way for this and that Garmin was going to be at a severe disadvantage. But Garmin may follow suit; either company will just add in the cost of lifetime map updates to the unit price. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me for TomTom to be able to bundle them for less.
Lifetime map updates will help negate some of the advantage of mobile phone apps that can tout always having the latest maps. Of course, with lifetime traffic and lifetime map updates, consumers are going to lose some incentive to upgrade to a new unit. This means that there will be even more pressure on TomTom (and anyone else who adopts this model), to add new and compelling features. We can only hope they will be useful and not fluff or eye candy.
Here’s the full news release.