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Must have Smartphone application, TomTomMobile

I've previously blogged about TomTom Mobile for the C500 smartphone. I've upgraded to the latest version (5) and I believe the new features and improvements make this an absolutely brilliant application for the SmartPhone...a killer application in fact!

Installation
First up a few notes on installing the software. As I previously had v4 installed on a 256mb min-SD I was slightly puzzled as I read the instructions for installing this application "upgrade". The upgrade came on a 128 mini-SD (adapter to SD included) but there was no obvious instructions on how you would get the new software onto my existing larger capacity card.

Now I'm not the sort of user that needs these type of instructions but I think that as an upgrade it's a) very likely that the existing installation is on a larger size memory card and b) other applications and data will be unavailable if you just follow the quick guide and put the new card in....so some better instructions on the more likely upgrade path are required I think.

Any way...so if you do have a larger capacity mini-SD card and want to put the TTM v5 software onto it then all you need to do is copy the content of the new card onto your PC using a media card reader, then just do a copy of this back onto your existing card. Just overwrite any files or folders when prompted. One thing to note is that the you will have two GB map folders as TTM5 comes with a new version of this map. Stick the card back into the phone (or run \Storage Card\Autorun.exe) and the software will install.

Interestingly both maps are available within TTM and all your favourites, Speed Camera and other custom POI's are available in the old map. There is an option to change maps in the TTM preferences and also to delete a map...just make sure you delete the old one! The way to check is by looking at the map version number in the "Show version" option on screen 5 of the user prefs...the new map is v562, the old v390(-ish). I guess that you could transfer your favs to the new map folder but I don't know the file to copy (the POI's are easy, they are the .ov2 and .bmp files )

So onto the best bits/what's cool...

Contacts integration - an awesome feature but seems like a bit of an afterthought implementation wise. Its a separate application that hooks into your Contacts database and allows you to select a contact and either navigate to them (boots up TTM or creates a new route if already started) or show their location on the map with in TTM. It requires that your contacts addresses are properly formatted, i.e. street, city, postcode fields are correct in order to be able to navigate to them but helpfully it allows you chose addresses (home, work etc) and to edit the values - no save feature though so you will need to go and actually edit them again in the Contacts/Outlook to make the change permanent.

Things to improve...

  • Different icon! Contacts navigation app and TTM should have different icons. It gets confusing on the home screen when you have two identical icons in the quick launch
  • Save amended address
  • Lookup as per contacts, i.e, type the first characters of the name for a match. At the moment it is a pure browse by scrolling through the list so can be a bit tedious for large amounts of contacts
  • "Navigate to" - actually plans the route even if you have set TTM to ask you the type you want (fastest, shortest..etc) - so I don't know what it uses as the default -fastest presumably?

Improved navigation - Several very nice features...

  • Navigate to nearest POI - pick any POI in the database at it will list them, nearest first to your present location...so finding the nearest petrol station or cash point is soooo simple now :)
  • POI can support a phone number and once you have found the POI you want (say nearest supermarket) you can give them a call directly from inside TTM! Nice bit of phone integration!
  • Full postcode lookup (don't need the road name now to find a place)
  • Routing options - Fastest, Shortest, Walking, Bicycle are the most interesting plus you can set it to prompt you for each journey or pick a default
  • Live Traffic updates during your journey - you can set the update frequency to suit along with automatic re-routing and warnings
The only downside I have noticed to the new routing options is that it takes a bit longer to re-route if you wander off the current route - not massively slow, say 10,15 seconds longer but this can cause you a problem in built up areas like London as you can enter a new road faster then it can re-route you...however a minor problem, either pull over or wait until you get to some lights/traffic and it will catch up in no time.
Screenshots








POI NavSelect POI type
Nav to POISelect POI type
Select AirportPostcode Nav
Select AirportNav to postcode
Postcode listRoute types
Postcode listRoute Types
Traffic preferencesUpdate frequency
Traffic preferencesUpdate frequency

Extras - There are several online features now available. These require a subscription to each service (prices vary for each service but Live Traffic is €59.95/year) to TomTom Plus and allow you to connect to these services via GPRS/web connection....
  • The current weather at any location (POI, Postcode etc)
  • Traffic updates
  • Download new maps and map updates
  • Speed camera database (free one already available on www.pocketgps.co.uk)
  • Customisation with new voices and colour schemes

I think the traffic feature is the most useful and quite resonable at that price.

Conclusion - The product is now a lot more stable than v4 - I used to regularly get the application lock up (a reboot fixed this, memory problems maybe?) and so far no crashes or problems.

The new navigation, routing options and stability make this a fantastic product. Nav to nearest POI and full postcode make this a must have application in my opinion - if you need Satnav, have a Smartphone and were considering buying a dedicated unit then stop - get TomTom Mobile v5, you won't be upset!

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