iPhone Navigation Apps Won't Kill GPS Devices, TomTom Says

TomTom’s new iPhone app is similar in many ways to the company’s personal navigation devices, but the software’s lack of multitasking ability and smaller screen size are a few ways in which it’s different, says Tom Murray, its vice president of marketing development.

When asked whether the emergence of navigations apps — including TomTom’s own — spells the end of standalone devices, he says, “We’re trying to make TomTom navigational systems available to people across all platforms that are important to consumers.”

Devices represent 80 percent of TomTom’s current business, and while that may shift as smart phones become a bigger part of the market, “we continue to see a robust demand for [portable navigation devices] going forward,” Murray says.

“This is an opportunity to grow, not a threat to us, especially in the short term.”

The app’s user interface will be familiar to users of TomTom’s navigation devices, from its menu screens to the way the map looks. It also uses IQ Routes, a TomTom proprietary technology that helps people get to their locations based on trillions of data bits that users have contributed.

It has 6 million points of interest on North American maps, and turn-by-turn functions that are available in two-dimensional or three-dimensional views.

IPhone users can get directions to addresses in their contacts list, and use some of the gestures — such as pinching to zoom and rotating the phone to go from portrait to landscape mode — that are native to the smart phone.

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