TomTom app for Android on roadmap

TomTom looks set to follow up its iPhone app with one for Google's Android operating system the company has implied to Pocket-lint.

The satnav company had partnered with HTC for the TomTom 7 application for the Windows Mobile platform in the past and, according to senior VP for TomTom onboard mobile Benoit Simery, it's one that continues to be very strong indeed. He told Pocket-lint:

"We cannot ignore such a successful platform as Android. HTC is an important partner of ours and Android is becoming increasingly important too."

Android represents a solid opportunity for TomTom with HTC providing suitable quality devices as well as a good delivery system. However, those on S60 and BlackBerry might have to wait a little longer before an official app heads their way.

"We spent so much time producing the iPhone software and we were later on the scene than we wanted but the standard of the service and the quality of the satnav is what was most important to us."

"I do not question the opportunity that RIM might offer but we know that a satnav device needs to have a large touchscreen and voice commands to be able to work for turn-by-turn navigation. We come from a PDA background and we know what will work."

When questioned on whether TomTom will bring out a mobile phone of their own, Simeray was understandably tight-lipped and, although there doesn't seem to be anything immediate in this area, it was clear that it's very much a case of what the opposition is up to. With Garmin Asus powered devices due before the end of the year, it's hard to believe that it's not in TomTom's mind.

Of course, the real question on everybody's lips is whether satnavs still have a place in the world. CoPilot has had mobile satnav software available for quite some time now and the rise of smartphones has seen the advent of devices with an amazingly large scope. Isn't this development just another nail in the coffin for the satnav? Not so, says Simeray, at least not in the short term.

"There is nothing better than a satnav. It's still superior. No smartphone can compete with a satnav and the integrated services that we can offer on our devices such as local Google searches, fuel prices, traffic information - we are still ahead of the game. There is still a strong market for dedicated devices. Very strong."

Perhaps so, but it can't be long before smartphones or tablets come with screens just as big as any PND and TomTom, or one of their competitors, offers as much functionality as they might normally reserve for their own branded hardware. But then, TomTom is more than just PNDs. They own the software, as we've seen, and the mapping service Tele Atlas as well and with the expansion of their to a wider market today, they seem to have a very solid idea of strategy. Contrast that with Mio Navman's recent approach to adding value to the company's products with the launch of DVB TV tuners integrated into their devices. Is this something that TomTom would consider?

"We don't believe in those army knives. We do turn by turn navigation. We're not here to entertain people. Safety is more important to us."

We'll take that as a no, then.


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