Sunday, March 18, 2012

TomTom’s In-Dash Navigation Accesses the Cloud

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TomTom has been working fluidly towards getting its products embedded in the dashboards of various manufacturers including Jeep and Volkswagen. In the last few years, the company has signed multiple deals and its products have begun shipping inside various different car models. Well, it looks like the Dutch-based navigational company is going a step further with access to the cloud.

Last week, TomTom announced that its in-dash navigational entertainment systems can now upload, download and read information stored in the cloud. This capability will greatly extend the reach of the TomTom system and allow users to seamlessly navigate and share information and routes across devices. Pre-planning trips on websites, tweaking it on a phone and then sending it to your car’s navigation will now be possible.

“We’re delighted to announce that we now allow car makers, developers and third-parties to extend the reach of embedded navigation systems,” said Jan-Maarten de Vries, VP Automotive Product Marketing at TomTom in a press release. “With TomTom’s world-class technologies, OEMs can now offer a compelling, branded navigation experience on user devices.”

There is no indication as to exactly which vehicles or navigational systems will get this capability first. I could be wrong, but I don’t know of any other in-dash navigation systems which allow for this kind of sharing so it’s quite the step in the right direction. In fact, while normally I am not a huge fan of in-dash navigation systems (they tend to be bulky and hard to use in my experience) something like this would definitely make me take a second look. It’s a great move on TomTom’s part. Provided it works, of course.

There are many details that are unclear at this point including whether the network requires a data subscription to access the cloud, or who will be hosting the information, etc. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more information!

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