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TomTom ditches map updates for some sat-navs (bbc.co.uk)
94 points by edward on Jan 29, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 188 comments

Some product descriptions continue to state that maps on the devices will update multiple times a year "for the lifetime of your device".

On its website, TomTom explains that "lifetime" means the "useful life" of a device: "ie: the period of time TomTom supports your device with updates, services, content or accessories. A device will have reached the end of its life when none of these are available any more."

Updates will be available for the lifetime, which is defined as until we stop providing updates.

(Unsure how to quote)

It’s amazing how companies are able to get away with bullshit like this with virtual goods.

There was an article in our local newspaper about a dude who bought lifetime brakes for his Mustang in like 1970 from JC Penney (!). To this day, he’s still getting free brakes, I think Firestone took on the business. With tech stuff, they would declare the lifetime to the be average lifetime of a brake pad!

There was an article in our local newspaper about a dude who bought lifetime brakes for his Mustang in like 1970 from JC Penney (!). To this day, he’s still getting free brakes, I think Firestone took on the business.

Can confirm as an ex-Firestone mechanic from shortly after Firestone picked up Penny's repair business (in fact, the shop I worked at used to be a Penny's auto repair). If a car rolled in needing brakes, and they had the lifetime warranty, we put brakes on it. I was never tasked with trying to find ways to wiggle out of it. Nope, it was "hey, mikestew, '72 'stang out there, check the brakes. It's lifetime warranty, so if it needs anything we don't need to call customer, just put it on and let me know what you did." And because a "lifetime" job required that the customer buy calipers and rotors in addition to pads, Firestone covered everything. Rotors are shot? New rotors for you, no charge! Caliper frozen? New caliper, on the house!

Haven't worked for Firestone in about 25 years, but we still take our cars there for lifetime alignment (I can do brakes myself). No bullshit, no fine print, take it in once or twice a year, no questions asked. And I'll tell you why Firestone doesn't mind: they'll more than likely find something else that needs work (not trying to rip you off, folks, that's just the nature of mechanical things) and make some money off that. My personal observation was that folks also never took it back for an alignment until it needed tires, and therefore money in Firestone's pocket. IOW, Firestone's bean counters were counting on customers not actually using the warranty, and they were right.

Tilley clothing is another one who honored the lifetime warranty on two of their hats we had for twenty years. Filled out the form, paid eight US dollars shipping, new hats in a few weeks. My only complaint is that the new hats are...different. I dunno, maybe after some break-in they'll be like our old ones. Tilley claims to be like the Craftsman tools of old: if you're in possession of a hat, you're covered under warranty even if you didn't buy it. "Put it in your will!", they say. I assume that's true, because they never asked us for any proof of purchase.

That's positively awesome; thanks for sharing.

Good luck to Tom-Tom with their definition of "life": "As long as we feel like it".

There's a huge market out there for honest auto repair shops.

I'm a former mechanic, and usually astonished at what most shops get away with.

I've seen $1200 tune ups. (Six cylinder Ford Vallant, and the shop owner told my friend business was slow that week, and he needed money.)

To a Franchise owner at Aamco (San Rafael, ca) who told he the tranny was going into limp mode when he test drove it, and then brought me into the office to look at the cutaway model. (It was never even driven because he didn't have the key. Plus--when he realized I knew the lingo; he started kissing my ass. He knew he was caught. He was a new franchise owner, but that's no excuse.)

My point is there's some real business opportunities out there. An honest shop is gold. Its a very tough business though. I've even met some people who sware their "guy" is the best. They are usually the ones who are being taken the most.

To a Franchise owner at Aamco

You know, I've been seeing investigative reports about Aamco's crooked dealings since I was a kid watching Morely Schafer on Sixty Minutes, and I am not a young man (in fact, I think Morely's dead now.) So I am continually amazed when I see Aamco in the news again.

It's not like there isn't good money in running an honest shop. I wasn't a mechanic for all that many years, but of those years I've known one mechanic that I wouldn't send my sister to. The rest are just working class dogs like the rest of us, trying to make a nice middle-class living. The other Firestone I worked at while I was going to school, as a "tire changer" and not mechanic, the manager was a every-time-the-doors-are-open church goer, and lived it. There would be no ripping off of customers in that shop. That shop made plenty of money.

So I dunno, maybe transmissions are a different business. And there will always be those for whom the good living of auto repair isn't good enough. Sure, I make a ton more writing software, but there are days I'd go back to turning wrenches. Much like software, someone has a problem, and I got a great deal of satisfaction out of solving that problem for a reasonable price. Personally, I never saw any compelling reason to be dishonest.

I have a pair of Koss headphones with a lifetime warranty. I bought them in 1991, and have sent them back to Wisconsin at least five times for repair.

When repair is not possible or practical, Koss sends me a new pair of whatever is the current equivalent model.

/ I'm not sure if they're still honoring the lifetime warranty, as I think the last time I sent them in was about eight years ago.

I used to do that as well when I owned a pair of cheaper Koss earbuds. It was ages ago so I might be recalling incorrectly, but didn't they charge a shipping and handling fee for all of that? If so, my hunch was they either came close to breaking even or even turned a small profit in some cases.

I've never been charged a thing, except my expense of sending them the headphones. I don't get an RMA or anything. I just put the 'phones in a box with a nice letter explaining that they're under a lifetime warranty and I'd like to have them fixed.

*Lifetime is defined as the TTL setting on our DNS records.

Autozone does this with brake pads. If you come in with a set of worn out brake pads, they will hand you new ones free of charge.

I used to own a Kia Sephia that was known to have brake pad issues where they would prematurely wear at 15,000 miles or so, replaced the brake pads multiple times on that car like clockwork. The guys at AutoZone knew me well :P

I thought legally in the US lifetime means at least 25 years.

They out to outright ban "lifetime" claims and only allow claims of specific lengths of time. This is a great example of why they're dangerous to consumers.

It's already been done with lifetime fitness memberships in the U. S. It's been a long time, like when this middle-agester was a kid and my Mom bought one, but what would happen is fitness places would then go out of business. I was too young to discern if the places just ran off with the money, or genuinely went bankrupt, but point is no more lifetime memberships.

They don't need to ban these claims, they just need to define "lifetime", either the lifetime of the device or lifetime of the owner. Or, as with the Tilley hats I mentioned in another comment on this article, as long as you have one in your hand, whether you're the one that bought it or not. Oh, sure, have some well-defined exclusions for abuse and the like. Run your Tilley hat through a woodchipper, and no new hat for you. (But if you run your hat through an elephant, they'll honor it if you're willing to dig it out of the manure. True story, they claim.)

I hope someone sue then in the EU. TomTom is quite popular here in Germany but I don't see any news yet.

while, I'm sympathetic to your point, to play devil's advocate, think of it a bit differently as in "we'll never ask you to pay for map updates for this device". Of course that doesn't help you if the devices is working perfectly well and all you need are map updates

>> "we'll never ask you to pay for map updates for this device"

But to twist it around again, that's the same as, "eventually you won't even be able to pay for updates for this device".

How any company thinks it can continue to make money selling maps is beyond me.

I have just driven the length of West Africa from Morocco to South Africa[1] using Open Street Maps loaded onto a $50 Garmin GPS[2]. The accuracy and completeness of the maps is nothing short of staggering. The tiniest town in Burkina Faso, Gabon or the DRC has every single road, walking track and intersection, perfectly mapped. It's the same for all the countries.

On the entire 40,000 miles I can count on one hand the number of times the OSM map did not perfectly reflect the real world. It happened so infrequently it was always cause for celebration when it did.


[2] http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/

It's ~$800 per year for map updates for one of my cars, a Nissan Altima SV (and that's just an SD card that, of course, must be installed by a dealership). As you might guess, I've never paid for them. In the worst case, the girlfriend (who actually drives the car), just uses the Maps app on her iPhone when she needs it.

Contrast that with Harley-Davidson who is notorious for "nickel and diming" and charging outrageous amounts for otherwise regular products. I can just go to their website, download a file to a USB flash drive, plug the flash drive into my motorcycle, and it'll update everything -- including the GPS navigation system and maps.

It just seems backwards to me. I probably wouldn't pay anything for map updates for the car (and I don't for my truck, either), although I might if they were cheap enough. OTOH, I absolutely would pay for updates for the motorcycle but even H-D doesn't charge for 'em.

As long as navigation is available for free on everyone's mobile phones, I'm not sure how automobile companies expect to make much money from map updates.

It boggles my mind that Harley-Davidsons come equipped with USB ports, and require software updates. How do the grumpy old-timey bikers deal with the modern complexity in their bikes?

Heh, well, it's (mostly) optional. You can buy a new bike off the showroom floor and ride it for years without ever updating anything or, really, even using any of that new-fangled techno-electro-logical crap. :-)

Modern Harleys, however, have a lot of electronics available, if you want to take advantage of them. I've got a touch-screen unit that includes GPS (including turn-by-turn navigation), SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth (for phone calls or playing the music on my iPhone through the bike's very well-equipped "Infotainment" system), a USB port (for updates and playing MP3s), a security system, a garage door opener, and so on. Other models might have CD players, CB radios, etc. The lower end/cheaper models typically don't have much more than a speedometer. Some of these are, easily, $50,000 bikes, though.

The software updates are dead simple, too. Download a file to a USB stick, plug it in, turn the ignition to accessory, and... wait. It shows the progress/status on the screen and takes maybe 10 minutes from start to finish. Someone like me (more "tech-y") usually gets the USB flash drive set up when an update comes out and then we all just pass it around when we get together for a ride or something. Others don't care and don't bother ever updating.

Even the "grumpy old-timey bikers" like their tunes. :-)

Same with my 2010 Prius. The navigation is fairly good (as far as car navigation goes) and it has a HUD with turn-by-turn directions, but the maps are stuck in 2010.

I’m not paying a few hundred euro per year to update them. Even if I did they probably wouldn’t be as good as Google or OSM, as currently the maps only have major roads and cities.

It would be cheaper and more effective to buy a replacement Android head unit.

OSM is probably better even in those areas. I recall my uncle did a bunch of mapping for OSM while 4x4ing around the place for the WHO's vaccination programmes.

This begins to fall apart in major cities without OSM volunteers ingesting city roadwork feeds. Of course, something like tomtom wouldn't represent that ideally either without a radio data or cell service...

Waze used to (still does? I don't know as I don't use Waze any more) display dots on paths and as you drove it scored you and also used the data to confirm maps. Is there anything like this in the OSM world?

Drivers in the field can record GPS tracks, and upload/share them through the OSM website. These can then be used either to directly create that road, or by remote mappers to help align satellite imagery, and then remote map visible roads in the area.

Not really. But OSM is a wiki. So there is no central body to "confirm" changes. If you want, you can just edit things as you go.

You can even edit OSM on your phone (e.g. with Vespucci), so you could drive along a road, think "this is totally wrong on OSM", pull over, get out your phone and correct it.

OSM volunteers are pretty crazy, though. A friend of mine spent his time doing linework for North Korean roads. It's a data sparse region for us capitalist pigs. Anywhere, there might be good data where you least expect expect it.

I paid for some map updates for my older model of TomTom a year or two ago - I considered using a free alternative but I was about to go on a road trip and wanted to be sure I had the right maps for my device plus thought paying might be some guarantee of quality.

The "new" maps were out of date - road alterations which had happened 2 years previously in my home town weren't on there yet. We found various other places on our trip where it seemed the road layout had changed since the maps came out, too.

Maybe I did something wrong somehow but it wasn't a very good advert for paying for maps. I've never used OSM on a drive but it's very good for walking in my local area as it has pretty much every footpath/cycle path (unlike Google Maps, which is very road-based), so I'll try it next time.

As for that older TomTom, I replaced it with a newer model because the battery life had gone right down and the touchscreen was failing, but the new model touchscreen is also very unresponsive, it already needed constant charging even when it was brand new, and the interface and directions aren't as clear as the decade-old model. I won't buy TomTom again.

> How any company thinks it can continue to make money selling maps is beyond me.

You do not sell to consumers, but B2B. There are 2 maps on the market you can actually license: TomTom and Here. If you want a map, that is where you have to go.

Small world. I've seen your site, probably on ExPo or something. Cool trip. Someday I will put my old Defender in a container and ship it somewhere fun. For now, it's just trips around the western U.S: https://expeditionportal.com/expedition-journal-the-owhyee-d...

How is navigation on these maps? Every time try using OSM to guide me from point A to point B, it becomes a feature-length endeavour. Has this changed?

OSM is just maps, there are plenty of routing tools available. I've used and been impressed by OSRM


I've had a decent experience with maps.me. Not a polished UX as Google or apple, but functional.

Technically OSM is a database of geographic objects. You can use that to make a map, or to power a routing engine (like OSRM).

Technically you can edit OSM yourself and correct routing errors like that. The problem is either in the data (which is easier to fix) or in the router code (which is harder to fix, but even filing a bug with an example is helpful).

> On its website, TomTom explains that "lifetime" means the "useful life" of a device: "ie: the period of time TomTom supports your device with updates, services, content or accessories. A device will have reached the end of its life when none of these are available any more."

This is very weasily legalise and quite contrary to what the customer is likely to interpret "lifetime" as meaning. They guaranteed the device would be kept updated for its useful life, but as soon as they stop updates the device's useful life is over so they can arbitrarily define what "lifetime" of the product is long after its sale.

If the term has not been adequately and obviously defined to the customer in this way they might be liable for refunds on the bases of the product not matching reasonable expectations. Even if it has been defined that way in EULAs and similar for all time, there may still be valid claims against them for deceptive advertising and bait & switch.

Of course they'll probably get away with it though, the same way for many years ISPs got away with using the word "unlimited" to mean "unlimited except for any limits we currently apply and might decide to apply at any time in the future", though not without losing some face.

I own a TomTom sports watch which I've recommended to people in the past. I will no longer give unguarded recommendations[1] and when it comes time to replace it[2] I will seriously research competing options and most likely discount TomTom products unless there is an astronomical cost/value difference in their favour.

[1] if any recommendation at all

[2] which will be soon due to an event involving unintended high-velocity contact between myself and the pavement which has resulted in a damaged screen and probably a reduction in moisture resistance

I got bit by this same thing recently. I bought new windows for my house, and a selling point was they came with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer and installation defects. I only found out after reading the fine print that "lifetime" in this sense meant 10 years

Wow, pretty sure that would be totally against our consumer law in my country (Australia)...

It's not an uncommon practice in Australia (from a high level). (Never looked into the legalities though....)

One example I know of is that Kathmandu offer a "lifetime warranty" on their goods, but that lifetime is their definition for how long that item is expected to last. As an example they might say "rain jacket x has a product lifetime of 5 years"; so a warranty claim at 4 would be covered but one at 6 years would not (if the staff act 100% in accordance with the policy). (These numbers are entirely arbitrary and not based on their policy.)

It's actually surprisingly inline with consumer laws, but consumer law has a "reasonable expected lifetime based on what you paid for the item" type clause (such that a $15 jacket has a different lifetime to a $800 one).

It's worth remembering for things like expensive TVs that only have a short warranty, because it often pans out that the expected lifetime (because of the price) is higher than the manufacturer offers, but they still have to cover the fault (because of consumer laws).

(It's not accounting for a retrospective change though...)

The TomTom situation is worse than that for some (many?) users though. This isn't a device losing support because it is at the end of its physical life expectancy, or because of tech advances in th eX years since the customer bought it (as some of the devices are still available to buy), but because they can't be bothered to keep it up-to-date. They could at least maintain a slightly cut down version that does work on the older designs, for instance.

If someone bought one of those devices in the last year or few I would hope there is a case for it being returned as "not fit for purpose". You could argue that it still works with older maps, but in some cases this could potentially be dangerous. In the case of a sports watch like mine not getting updates wouldn't be a big issue (I might not get new features, but the old ones would still work, I could still use it as a distance tracker and to tell the time) but for a mapping the device up-to-date maps are an essential part.

For devices still on shop shelves, any sold near a statement that updates are a feature are actively being mis-sold. Who picks up the hit for having to sell these devices off cheap: TomTom or the retailer? Some retailers are going to be as irritated as the end users.

I am currently shopping for a new car. Most of the salefolks I came across actually recommended us to stay away from dedicated GPS devices, (built into the car or stand alone). They actually recommend for us to use our smart phone and coupled it with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The fewer electronics the car has the better IMO. I much prefer climate control and radio with knobs and levers, no screens thank you (hard to get away from now thanks to silly requirement for reverse camera).

Fortunately the cars I buy are old enough that they pre-date the introduction of screen-based controls.

Navigation much better on phone. Always up to date, no extra costs.

I wouldn't say the reverse camera is a silly requirement. At least in my car the lens has a pretty wide angle/fish-eye effect which allows me to see around cars on either side of me before I'm able to see them with the naked eye + my rear-view mirror.

Also add that it is way harder to see out of the rear windshield in newer cars. IMO a back up camera is essential and the top-down view some newer cars is pretty nice.

Yep. Just ask all the kids who get backed over in driveways. Sad to read another story every month or so, and that's just in Australia. :(

Ought to be mandatory equipment, along with reverse sensors. The latter have the advantage of working passively (your hearing doesn't need active focus).

Very few deaths like this in Australia. Those few deaths are almost always with huge 4WD urban assault vehicles.

More common are kids drowning in backyard swimming pools.

The high beltline fad is ridiculous for what it does to visibility but a rear view mirror isn't absolutely necessary. Trucks manage fine with a fully obstructed view.

Other than backing up into the trailer or a loading dock, I wouldn't think trucks have to back up often and even in those two cases, there hopefully isn't a lot of pedestrian traffic around.

Now a neighborhood driveway or Walmart parking lot, even the rear view mirror in a older car isn't good enough for me.

Plenty of utility vans and pickups with service bodies have no rear visibility. They back up all the time.

Back up camera is super handy to hitch up a trailer on a pickup/truck.

Trucks usually have bigger mirrors; modern cars have pretty tiny mirrors for aerodynamics (I guess some classic cars just had tiny mirrors cause they looked cool, though). The modern fake overhead view built from multiple cameras is pretty useful.

> I much prefer climate control and radio with knobs and levers, no screens thank you (hard to get away from now thanks to silly requirement for reverse camera).

I do too. The curse of automotive UX are touch-screen soft buttons and menu-driven UIs. On a car, every major function that you might use while driving should be controlled by a dedicated physical control. This includes pretty much every function present in a car before in-dash screens became common and many things that have been introduced since.

> Navigation much better on phone. Always up to date, no extra costs.

This is true. Carmakers have realized this any many new cars support technology for your smartphone navigation app to display on the center console screen.

Navigation on the phone is great - as long as you have a workable 3G/LTE signal.

Try to drive across continent like that. Google maps and similar will not allow you to pre-cache that much data and once you are out of cell phone coverage, you are stuffed. And by Murphy's law it will be in the middle of nowhere where you need the GPS the most.

I am driving about 3000km back and forth across Europe every summer - from France to Slovakia and back, i.e. crossing France, Germany and Austria before I arrive in Slovakia. One would say - civilized countries, no problem. Except in many places you don't have even 2G signal on the motorway, even less 3G/LTE.

Oh and I am not even mentioning the roaming charges for data. Until recently it was exorbitant - the above mentioned trip would have costed me about 300 euro only in roaming charges if I have used a phone. It is less now after the EU forced the networks to lower the charges but it is still isn't free.

My TomTom doesn't have any of these problems. I certainly wouldn't buy a car with a built-in satnav, that's a pure waste of money and a colossal ripoff on map update costs, but a standalone satnav is still pretty useful if you ever drive outside of a large metro area.

And often even in cities - I have tried to use Google Maps and had Waze on my phone while driving in Paris, but it was so cluttered with advertising crap on the map (especially Waze!) that I couldn't see the route. Not cool when you are relying on it to know which street to take!

Download OSM. It's offline by default, with updates up to once a month, if you don't try hard (theoretically about daily or so, but you might need to run the raw data through their software yourself, to get something the App can handle.)

Sorry but the OSM navigation features are not comparable with Google Maps and even less with a dedicated satnav. Not to mention voice navigation, which is an essential thing to have in car, as well as live traffic info.

I need a satnav solution to drive, not to hack on.

There are plenty of offline navigation apps for both iOS and Android that let you do that. In fact, some of the same companies that make dedicated devices, also make those apps.

There's also OsmAnd, which lets you download OSM maps for offline use, complete with elevation contour lines and hillshading, and even Wikipedia articles associated to locations. It does offline navigation, too.

> My TomTom doesn't have any of these problems.

Funnily enough, I used the TomTom app with offline maps on my Treo 650, and then it was released for the iPhone a year or so after native apps became available and I got that too. I used it for quite a few years, but eventually Google Maps overtook it in quality and data got cheaper (and stuff like factoring traffic into travel times is a good feature), and I only then used it when there was no cell service at all, which is becoming rarer.

You inspired me to fire it up again just now. TomTom discontinued the original app last year and moved to a subscription service for the new one, and at least they've given everyone 3 years of updates (and it's usually $20/yr), so I'm pretty happy with that. And the old app still works at least until it breaks with iOS updates beyond 11.

Not bad for a $70 purchase, 8 years or so ago.

(I also use OSM maps for my time off-road.)

I use maps.me for offline use. Is there an official OSM app?

> Is there an official OSM app?

No. OSM is kinda decentralised and the project prefers to not have "official" or "blessed" apps or services, and instead takes the approach of letting there be a constellation of services, companies and apps in the OSM ecosystem. So there is rarely one official way to do something, and instead allow the community (which often includes people who run various OSM things) to make things with OSM.

I haven't looked a huge amount because I don't use it for traditional turn-by-turn directions, but rather loading up a GPX track and following it manually. I use the Trails app on iOS most, but I have maps.me as well.

The remaining knobs these days are mostly drive-by-wire, so to speak. Maybe the simulation of mechanical control is still better than touchscreen controls, but they are not without problems.

I still miss the ability, occasionally, to adjust the volume on the car stereo before I turn on the car. (I recall that I was blasting some music while alone, but now don't want to deafen a passenger, e.g.) On my year-old Honda, the volume knob doesn't start responding for about 15 seconds after I hit the ignition button.

I know I'm romanticizing him, but the story of how Steve Jobs designed the click wheel on the original iPod is how I wish every product was designed: insistence on zero lag and immediate feedback. The above volume knob also has a lag in it's use: turn too quickly and you'll get unreliable or delayed results. I hate that every time I use the knob, I'm kind of second guessing whether it's working. The stereo was seemingly designed with the steering wheel volume buttons as the primary controls.

Some manufacturers do sensible things like limit the power on volume if it was last turned off above a threshold deemed to be too loud.

This is great. My Equinox lets me control the threshold as well.

I bought a second hand 2009 audi A6 a few years ago, some of the maps were out of date as some new motorways had been built in my area. Queried with my dealer how much to update the maps, they wanted €250 for the DVD and €250 for the install + licence key. Reason for the DVD is that even a main dealer doesn't stock it. Next car will have android auto.

The irony there is that Audi MMI is android.

If you're not in an area experiencing explosive growth (Seattle, Austin, Raleigh-Durham, etc) then the risk of having stale map info is pretty low. If you lease or only keep your cars < 10 years, the risk of stale maps is low. Will the directions have features like taking typical traffic volume into account? Probably not. But they'll get you there, and you don't have to spend an extra 20 seconds when you get in the car getting your phone out of your pocket and plugged in.

(currently in a 14 year old car whose maps will never be newer than 2015, and that's OK with me.)

20 seconds?

It's a default action for me and takes less than 5 seconds to plug in and drop into (or practically nothing for shorter journeys since I don't bother to plug in), and I'm going to get a wireless charging dock some time now that my phone supports it.

I'm glad our 2009 car doesn't have sat-nav. :)

> I'm glad our 2009 car doesn't have sat-nav. :)

That's odd to me. We have GPS in our Outback, but we use our phones. I'm pretty happy having the backup that works if we don't have a cell signal, so being glad you don't have it is odd... it's not like it adds significantly to the price.

Just my experience with it in other cars: because it asks you to accept a disclaimer every time you start the car, which annoys me no end. I have a bit of a minimalist and/or design snobbery bent though: I would often rather have no solution at all than a poor one.

I added a USB interface module and it clicks the lawyer screen's "accept" button for me, but yes that is a waste of time. Something it does that I do agree is annoying is lock out the UI when you drive more than 2 mph. For safety.

Our new car happened to include nav in the trim package we wanted. It is nice having it integrated with the vehicle (it doesn't have CarPlay or Android Auto), and available regardless of cell phone status. However, I'm not going to spend hundreds of dollars per year for map updates.

That's insane. It costs a couple hundred dollars a year to update aircraft Instrument flight GPS maps (and EVERYTHING is expensive on an airplane), it's galling that automakers would deign to charge so much for a product that almost all of us have available for free on our phones.

You're lucky you can pay for map updates. The navigation system for my car has NEVER been updated by the manufacturer. It's simply not an option. Which means it was out of date the day the car was built.

Every now and again I'll look at the screen and see my car floating across a barren landscape. That's how I know the road I'm on was built after 2013.

Funny, when I was car shopping in 2013 it was the exact opposite. They kept trying to sell us on built-in nav systems even though we repeatedly told them that we don’t care about those systems and plan to use our phones. Maybe they’ve finally caught on.

If you're not going somewhere where there's no 3G connection then there is no need to worry

But on the countryside there is usually no usable signal for great stretches of road

Google Maps lets you download your route in advance. So with a bit of planning you don't need data.

I have no data plan on my phone, yet I navigate with Google Maps all the time in this way. I just download on WiFi beforehand.

On my last trip, it even prompted me in advance to suggest this based off the flight information!

This is a great feature and I’ve used it extensively when travelling too. Word of warning though. It does not take into account the Avoid Toll Road setting when route planning without a signal. Which I found out the expensive way.

Waze performs surprisingly well when you have no signal during your journey - I guess that it pre-emptively downloads the bits of maps that it knows it will need.

OTOH, Waze is next to useless when trying to first pick a route when you have anything less than a great signal. 2G or patchy 3G? No hope. The dumb app will just give a timeout error after about five seconds or so and refuse to even consider plotting a route. It's like the developers never bother to test their code on anything other than a perfect internet connection.

There are plenty of smartphone navigation apps that work without a connection.

HERE or Here WeGo (formerly Navteq, bought by Nokia, now owned by a consortium of Audi, BMW and Daimler) offers a smartphone navigation app with downloadable maps for regions (for big regions, e.g.Germany it even offers sub-regions, so German states), and all for free.

You can download map data in Google maps to use it offline. Routing and I think some POI searching works offline...it's hidden in the settings menu somewhere.

Only if you "sign in" to the google maps app. Which otherwise works fine without signing in.

I use Google Maps in the Colorado high country all the time.

For navigation, what would be nice if they had a standard sized blank spot on the dash where you could attach 3rd party tablets, a bit like car radios. Or even a blank spot where you can put a phone nicely (with usb power source).

Or even just a standard-size socket where you could securely clip-in a phone or tablet holder. They sell all kinds of flimsy things that attempt to clip onto the air vents or CD slot, it's about time there was a standard.

ProClip is the gold standard for this stuff, they make model-specific mounting bases for most cars that wedge into dashboard / console panel gaps and are extremely secure.

I've moved on to magnetic mounts with adhesive bases for any of my cars that have a good surface to stick them. Cheap and quick to install. In my girlfriend's kitchen we made a little electronics charging station out of a couple short-depth Ikea shelves and stuck 5-ish inch wide magnetic mounts to the fronts -- real handy for holding the phones and tablets while charging with the screens visible, along with keychains and various other ferrous junk.

I recommend RAM Mounts. Their hardware is extremely durable (hundreds of miles of offroad motorcycling with zero issues), the parts are modular and interchangeable (they offer mounts for everything from bicycles to airplanes), and they have a lifetime warranty.

Thanks for the tips, parent and grandparent. Will have a look at those.

I use a Quadlock mount case on my phone so I can attach it to the bike, but the wife likes slightly more fashionable cases :), so I want something dock-ish I can just drop a phone into.

I'm keen on a Qi charging dock for the car now that it's on iPhones, and am looking to get something that'll last a few years.

I was a fan of MirrorLink because it would both let you have a built in display and integration with the rest of the car, but the protocol is basically VNC++, so you can use any computing device you prefer for entertainment.

Doesn’t seem to have caught on though.

Doesn’t seem to have caught on though.

I was going to try and use MirrorLink on an aftermarket head unit I bought.

"Step 1. Go buy a special cable"

Well, now I now why no one talks about MirrorLink.

It gets better: the manufacturer is likely charging for that cable because integrating with MirrorLink requires you to undergo certification, which requires you to be a member of a consortium, which is not remotely affordable for the average person.

Apologies if my memory’s rusty; I may be getting some of the facts slightly off. But at one point (2012/13-ish) I wanted to build my own in-car entertainment system. ML seemed like a great way to build the part I wanted to build while still having an amp and basic FM for when that didn’t work correctly. It all came to a grinding halt when I found out only certified stuff would interoperate.

The problem is that the screen needs to integrate with other car features (at the minimum, backup camera).

Even so, there could have been a standard hardware interface for this, if it was a requirement. But as it is, why would they bother, if they can sell you the car anyway?

This. Dedicated units get updates slower, aren't as good as using your Google map with Android auto and will eventually stop receiving updates.

I own three such vehicles and I agree with them.

I have a Nissan Altima SV with "all the options", including the built-in unit with touch-screen, Bluetooth, GPS navigation, rear-facing camera, etc. It started "acting up" a while back and pretty much doesn't even work anymore. The dealership quoted me ~$1200 USD for a new one.

My girlfriend drives the car, not me, and she just uses her phone (Pandora, Maps, etc.,) instead.

Having both is nice. For the most part Android Auto is great but sometimes cord doesn't work, phone dead,... the integrated on is good enough

Yeah I had the same experience; the sales guy basically said it wasn't worth paying extra for the built-in GPS so we didn't. This was a few years back.

Sadly, you're locked into Apple Maps if you use CarPlay—at least, if you want the map and directions to appear on the screen (which I often find indispensable).

Even worse, Apple forces you to enable Siri if you want to enable CarPlay. That was such a let down, I was really looking forward to using CarPlay when I bought a new car. But for privacy reasons I don't want to enable Siri, so now I can't use the feature at all.

I don’t mean this to be rude, but you are ok letting Apple finely track everywhere you go, but not listen to you?

Could you point me to how Apple is tracking where I go?

Really? Google maps and mapping apps aren't able to be used over CarPlay?

That’s because the new thing they want to sell is CarPlay / Auto. Car dealers are not your friends.

Me before reading article: "these are probably 15-year-old devices with 2 users still clinging on"

> Many of the affected sat-navs are still available online at a number of retailers.

Well OK then. No more buying TomTom.

This is where purchasers of Garmin sat navs are laughing because their map format was reverse-engineered years ago and OpenStreetMap on garmin satnavs is quite a well trodden path: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map_On_Garmin

It makes me wish I had more time, to start a project to reverse engineer the TomTom format. And maybe even generalize it for all sorts of devices, for example car makers also have their proprietary formats (probably they just use their supplier's format, whichever 3rd party that is).

The best part of the TomTom map is what they call "IQ Routes" where they have timing info for each road, for each 15 minutes of the day.

Without that there's little point in using it.

Yep, I even have routable maps on my wrist! (Epix) The UI is super clunky, but it's a great backup for a phone, and the routing is way faster than anything going online.

Bad experiences like these will most likely drive (no pun intended) more of their customers away from dedicated GPS-devices and onto using smartphones instead.

Why do people (outside of special applications perhaps... planes? military?) still use these devices?

Had one in a rental car recently, after battling with it for a bit reverted to trusty iOS Google Maps.

Google maps (at least on iOS) changes their interface frequently and needlessly. I have not seen a meaningful update to the UI in maybe the last three years. The ability to mute the volume is the only real change that comes to mind and that's not really a UI enhancement. Rather, features useful to me jump around through the various UI layers seemingly at random. The map display changes without warning. Sometimes these changes help me navigate, sometimes just the opposite. Each time the app updates I'm never sure what I'm going to find or if I'm going to have to take five minutes out of my trip just to figure out what this shuffle of the deck brought. I swear Google employs a host of front-end engineers with no real purpose in life.

A dedicated device with a predictable and unchanging UI could be very useful. The problem is that the convenience of the phone still outweighs the drawbacks for me.

- Operation outside of reliable cell connection.

- A call or text at an inopportune time doesn't inhibit navigation.

- The dedicated UI is simpler and doesn't change; my GPS is about 8 years old and has stayed the same the whole time. Every Maps app I've had has changed a dozen damn times since then; I value the stable interface more than the bullshit bells and whistles. It needs to show me directions and be otherwise unobtrusive; a phone doesn't do that.

- Sometimes I turn my phone off to eliminate distractions

- Sometimes I'll hand my phone to my kid to play a game

A phone does a thousand things, but none of them as well as a dedicated device can do 1 or 2 items from the list.

I would add:

- Privacy. A dedicated device with a one-way incoming signal (GPS) and no out-going signal cannot track you. This is not true of any smartphone app no matter what they claim or what their settings are.

I'll grant that the privacy benefit is pointless for the overwhelming majority people since they will leave their universal tracking device[1] turned on anyway.

As an aside: I was impressed that my really ancient Garmin, which displayed only latitude, longitude, altitude, and recorded waypoints, had a special button combination to instantly and securely erase everything it remembered.

[1] cellphone :)

Agreed. I will never replace my dedicated Garmin satnav with my phone. That would be a downgrade.

I don't want people trying to call or message me on my "satnav" when I'm driving.

Google maps and whatever app on my phone is never going to be as easy to use, consistent, reliable and stress-free as a dedicated device. My Garmin doesn't try to up-sell and tell me about things I don't want to know every 5 minutes. Smartphones are a constant echo chamber of "do you want fries with that" micro-bullshit and irritation.

> - Operation outside of reliable cell connection.

This. I just spent the entire weekend outside of cell range. And I can't always download maps in advance because I rarely know where I'm going from day to day.

> I can't always download maps in advance because I rarely know where I'm going from day to day.

Can’t you download offline maps for the whole country?

On my phone I have two sets of offline maps for my + neighbor countries. Microsoft is free, Garmin was one time purchase. Both work OK without Internet.

Yeah, I'm not sure why it's such a common complaint that phone service is required for navigation. There are plenty of apps available which let you download whole countries/regions for very cheap, and can do all of their routing offline.

Because people will typically use Google maps, and Google only provides one month of offline map data before it demands to be put online again to "refresh" that data.

Honestly, the way Google changes the goal posts and rearranges the furniture within its own apps, I stay well clear of that mess when I need consistency and reliability. My phone remains a phone when I'm driving and need an uninterrupted, non-internet, non-phone navigation device.

You must live in a small country.

Downloading the data at a level of detail required for my needs would be many GB.

Are you from US? Microsoft’s offline maps for the whole country take 3.81 GB.

Technically that’s indeed many GB, practically modern phones have many more GB available, e.g. my one has 32GB flash memory.

I don't know where you live, but for me Google Maps is absolutely dire, to a point where it's actually dangerous(telling me to turn wrong way into one way street, ignoring no-turn signs etc) plus the streets are wrong and/or missing(two streets which are in reality separated by a lawn appear connected in google maps so obviously the app shows me that I can drive through there fine). TomTom/Garmin/Navteq/AutoMapa are so much better than smartphone maps it's not even funny.

Where does this happen? I've never had Google Maps do this. For me it even accurately knows what time of day roads are closed or become unidirectional.

North East UK.

You should load up maps on your desktop and suggest edits. They’re pretty responsive with fixing things.

They've got much, much worse at fixing things since they stopped relying on the community (through MapMaker) to review edits. Where things used to get fixed in hours, they now often take months.

I haven't seen that yet. My new street was added within a few hours. I've been able to suggest edits to locations and have them updated instantly too. Might help that I'm a "local guide" whatever that means.

Why do people (outside of special applications perhaps... planes? military?) still use these devices?

Strap your cell phone to the dashboard of my 1200cc on/off road motorcycle, take it down the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks, AK until the Arctic Ocean stops you (more accurately, British Petroleum will stop you). When you return, I'd like to know 1. how your navigation experience was with no cell connection until you get to Deadhorse and 2. After being beat to death bouncing down 900 miles of gravel road, does the phone even still work?

I have lots of applications for GPS usage that have nothing to do with military use or an airplane, and I only use my phone in the car. Otherwise I probably need something with offline maps and less delicate than an iPhone. Without an unwieldy Otterbox case, phones are delicate little things not suited to harsh environments.

I have a host of issues with google maps. The routing and the maps itself are certainly great, but I have my phones language set to English and it attempts to use English pronounciation for all road names. In germany, this makes for a moderately hilarious guessing game (what street would that be), but when I cross over to Poland, things get unbearable. Every time you get into a tunnel, the phone looses the GPS fix, making routing in tunnels worthless. There’s a few places in Berlin where you need to take an on/off ramp in a tunnel or right at the end and a built in Navi reliably routes you, but a map on the phone cannot. It doesn’t work in regions without good cellular connectivity either.

> The routing and the maps itself are certainly great

Depends on your location. In my whereabouts, Google Maps routinely routes to "shortcuts" on dirt roads. They seem to use 70km/h legal limit for those roads. Thankyouverymuch, but I'll take next exit, do 10km extra and take fully paved route...

Whatever algorithm they use is sometimes a bit too greedy. There have been times where I've been able to manually drag my path to another freeway and make it faster

What is weird, they even don't follow easiest to calculate path. Let's say there's an officially signed route following top-tier highways. Nope, it's suggesting a random dirt road. I'm pretty sure it'd be easier to hardcode the "official" routes and then check alternatives whenever there's a problem (crash, slow traffic, etc) on it. Nope, "official" one is all green and no constructions and crashes. Yet it's still suggesting the random dirt route :/

In southern California, I've had Google Maps take me along roads that gradually turned from pavement to gravel to dirt and then deep sand. Dirt road navigation isn't unusual where I was, so going forward made sense. But once I ended up in sand before I could find a safe place to turns around and got a "Transmission overheat" warning message on my dashboard. Thanks, Google!

Anecdotal data: my parents (aged ~60) refuse to use their smartphones for GPS and have a dedicated device for this. They only use for long distance travels and never optimize their shorter travels (one could argue the long-distance travels aren't optimized as well, as TomTom cannot compete with Waze regarding time optimization, in my experience)

Because my phone is used for other things on long drives, so I like having a dedicated devices that's just GPS. It's on a suction cup on the car and stays there - I don't take it in the house with me.

Unlike a phone, you also don't need a data connection to navigate anywhere in North America.

I may have to buy a cheap phone that does nothing except Google maps, and leave it in the car (but fear of thieves means I can't leave it on the windshield all the time, unlike a GPS which no one seems to steal anymore).

Good job killing your market TomTom - why would anyone buy a device from you ever again?

I actually have a built-in device in the car, but I don't use it, and instead use the TomTom device because the car one blocks input if the car is in motion. I guess whoever made it has never driven with a passenger.

The UX on smartphone GPS apps is awful. My 10 year old car allows me to do things like search for gas stations and rest stops on my route and does a much better job of working with previous destinations. Cell phone GPS/Nav apps are slow and awkward to use and offer little in the way of useful features beyond simple turn-by-turn navigation.

Google Maps has supported on-the-route searching for a while - it will give you a bunch of options on the map, indicating how much of a detour each requires.

Another good one: when tapping on the Garmins, it tells you the nearest address, which can be a godsend when you are on the phone trying to meet someone. TomTom isn't as good at this, but Google and Apple maps both fail this. Try finding the nearest address to you, while driving a route, without tons of butterfingering.

Cool, I did not know that was there.

The UI in my car categorizes points of interest then shows me a list sorted by range. It's a lot easier to parse while driving but the Google Maps functionality is good. Over a long distance I could see it being a bit hard to decipher. I believe my car also allows filtering by top-tier stations only.

I did not notice this functionality because I have learned to be very afraid of touching the screen while navigating with Google Maps for fear that the navigation will be cancelled and I will have to start my search over again.

I still have one in my car that I rarely use. When you have really low/bad network coverage (narrow valley for example), having a device that got the map pre-loaded is helpful. GPS coverage is far bigger than 3G/4G still. But it is more of a backup, and I would not buy a new one.

> When you have really low/bad network coverage (narrow valley for example), having a device that got the map pre-loaded is helpful.

This may be an advantage of a dedicated GPS device over Google Maps, but it's certainly not an advantage of a dedicated GPS device over a smartphone.

Bigger display, better UI, faster GPS fix, data costs on mobile, doesn't want to unnecessary charge the mobiles battery in unnecessary intervals (other battery issues) is what comes into my mind.

The UI on my Pioneer GPS from 2009 was way better than the current UIs on Google, Here and Waze maps. I like the distance indicator as you approach a turn.

I suspect these UI elements are patented and Google/Here don't want to pay to incorporate them into their apps. After having and Android head unit, I think I'd rather go back to a Pioneer dedicated nav unit with Bluetooth connection to my cell/music.

An in-car unit is permanently powered and can maintain a warm-fix for much faster positioning than a cold-fix from my phone, which takes about five minutes with a good view.

Plus the advantages of a large, external antenna. Instead of holding my phone out of the sunroof...

What phone do you have that could possibly require 5 mins and an arm out the sunroof just for a GPS fix?

Time to fix can be worse if you've moved since your last fix, or if you're moving quickly. If you don't have a network connection to download the almanac info, it takes 12.5 minutes to receive in its entirety.

Many phones with data service switched off, which might be the case when driving abroad.

Data service has nothing to do with a GPS fix. Nothing at all. No data is used. GPS does not require any internet connection at all.

You are technically true but if you don't have internet connection to get the almanac (future position of satellites) you have to wait 12.5 minutes to download it very slowly from the GPS itself. That's what parent was saying. It works but the time-to-fix is very high.

AGPS uses data service to get the almanac.

Thank you. I learned something from this. How often does that almanac need to be updated, however?

These things are also true of Android Auto. It uses the GPS equipment in your car. I leave a dedicated phone in my car's glove box and it always has a strong location.

Android Auto also has access to the car's wheel speed and steering angle sensors so it can use dead reckoning when underground. GPS units can't do that.

> Android Auto also has access to the car's wheel speed and steering angle sensors

Hah, that's pretty interesting. To make a flippant joke, imagine if Facebook had this info, "Hey $AUTO_INSURER, 30% of people who visit your portal and log into it (we have this info because you added a 'Like our page on Facebook' iframe in the page) are bad drivers, you want to know who they are? Pay us and we'll tell you!".

I do because I don't have data on my phone.

An in-car unit is permanently powered and can maintain a warm-fix for much faster positioning than a cold-fix from my phone, which takes about five minutes with a good view.

It is easy to criticize, but I see their point. Over time we are adding more and more information and detail to mapping data. How does that work out if your older device does not have the resources to store/manipulate that much data?

They have no good options. They can send the update, and break the device. Or leave the old data be and let the device slowly downgrade. Or pay a fortune to replace who knows how many devices. Or try to maintain two versions of their data indefinitely.

Thing about map data is that they can just not include some layers in the output product. the roads/water bodies/poi... can be filtered in most mapping systems. even the detail levels.

They can ship a downscaled version of the data for older devices. Standard algorithms like Douglas-Peucker are simple to implement and the quality is bound to be good enough (certainly better than the alternative, which here is nothing at all).

Yes, that's some work. But a build pipeline to produce varying qualities of assets is not something TomTom should be a stranger to.

How do you choose which points of interest to throw away when downscaling? That data set is continuing to become richer and more complete over time.

Reduce the scope of the maps; allow country by country downloads, except for US, where you can allow state by state. Chances are, I'm not taking my gps outside of the western US, and if I were, I would have some time to futz with it first.

> TomTom explains that "lifetime" means the "useful life" of a device

Not the lifetime they think it is, but the same "lifetime" that every manufacturer of products uses. It's not like you're going to get a much longer life from a phone as they also turn off updates at some point.

What is a little surprising is people still haven't learnt to a) distrust all MarketingSpeak and b) Google before purchase to find out how long the "new" product has been out.

> What is a little surprising is people still haven't learnt to a) distrust all MarketingSpeak…

I hear you, it’s frustrating that companies keep getting away with this. On the other hand: people don’t live forever. There are many thousands of new people each day. Each of whom have to relearn all the unwritten rules of society, while tribal knowledge withers with every changing of the guard. This is an inherent inefficiency in a market free of regulations, where consumers learn whom and what to (dis)trust.

I think, at some point, it’s more zen to accept certain behavioural quirks of the market as axioms and focus on how to work with them, instead of against them.

Sorry for turning this into yet another anti libertarian rant :)

I got a rental in new zealand, and the included tomtom sent me to the hospital. Seriously, I was following directions to an RV park, but wound up in front of a hospital. The RV park was a kilometer away.

It was also woefully (and I mean extra-frustratingly) out of date in Dunedin. And yet it was online with a fast 3g connection 8 hours a day.

Point being - looks like maybe they skipped map updates a while ago. :-P

oh, another funny one - was heading to the botanical gardens in hamilton (a pretty big and highly populated city!) and it navigated me to the gated employees-only service entrance, not to the public entrance about 2km away on another side of the park.

I’ve had the Tom Tom app for many years now (iOS) and have always had free updates. I’m guessing it’s harder to support dedicated devices that will eventually be hard to maintain than it is to just update an app on Android iOS so this news is no surprise to me.

Is there much point in buying. A dedicated sat nav anymore? It’s literaly cheaper in the long run to use an app

The Tom Tom app no longer has updates. They've moved to a new free app that limits it's usage to a set number of miles a month, with a subscription fee if you want unlimited miles.

Didn't see this comment before posting much the same thing further up.

I haven't used the TomTom app in years although I've had it since the Treo 650 and then iPhone. Fired it up again. Subscription fee is now $20/yr but they gave all owners of the old app 3 years free. That means I've got 11 years of updates for my original $80 purchase. Not too shabby.

I really like having a dedicated GPS box and keep my phone free. What would be great is dash mounted GPS that uses my main phone as a hot spot for traffic updates. Actually I can use an old phone for that now that I think of it.

Maps are big and expensive, and so is the bandwidth require to distribute them. So it's not a huge surprise that TomTom's weaseling out of updating maps on old devices.

When I worked at TomTom around 2007-2009, they had just gone deep into debt buying Tele Atlas to acquire those maps for a hell of a lot more money than they originally expected to pay:


>The stunt that Garmin pulled of was, in my opinion, an ingenious head-fake that cost TomTom an enormous amount of money, almost a billion euros, and at the same time saved Garmin a whole lot of money by enabling them to renegotiate a better deal with Navteq, who was faced with losing their major customer if they didn't lower their prices.

TomTom was paying Akamai a lot of money in bandwidth charges so customers could download subscriptions of bigger maps more often. So I developed and tested a prototype using BitTorrent DNA to distribute them, but Akamai ended up lowering their prices because they didn't want to lose all those fees to BitTorrent.


>It turned out that BitTorrent would save TomTom about a million euros the first year, and more each year, since TomTom was distributing larger and larger maps, more frequently by subscription, and of course they hoped to get more customers over time. (See: http://www.sadtrombone.com ...)

>But then all of a sudden, out of the blue, Akamai unilaterally lowered the prices they were charging TomTom, saving us a lot of money immediately, presumably to prevent us from switching to BitTorrent (after I had made a bit of a scene at Akamai's GDC booth, in front Travis Kalanick and their sales people, about just having talked Bran Cohen and acquired a quote and beta testing agreement from BitTorrent, and insisted that Akamai tell me what their prices were and when we could start testing -- that may have motivated them to unilaterally lower their prices).

>So in the end, TomTom middle management decided to can the BitTorrent project, in spite of the fact that it was the TomTom founder Pieter Geelen's idea in the first place, and he'd been micromanaging the entire project and user interface all along, to make sure it would not just save us money, but also not have a negative impact on usability or customer perception.

I love my TomTom. With a locked phone (Thanks, AT&T), I can't afford to abuse data when I travel. My TomTom works in both US and Europe with free map updates, and has gotten me through mountains, valleys, cities and towns. I also use CityMaps2Go and download various cities, but I will very much miss my TomTom when it stops selling to consumers and updating maps.

(Or I will, at least until I get reasonable data costs internationally.)

100+ comments and nobody missed what's really going on: The old units don't have the resources for the new maps.

I've got a Garmin and can see where they are coming from: A few updates ago my unit demanded that a SD card be installed before it would load an update because the internal memory wasn't enough.

Thank god for OSM volunteers. My Garmin GPS which is totally out of support can still use OSM data that has been converted to a compatible format from here. https://www.openmapchest.org

Lifetime subscription. Well I guess if you use a goldfish as your standard lol.

I do feel a bit for TomTom. Bought a €120 nav set 3 years ago and the thing still works like a charm. Haven't spent a dime because of free updates and the road network here is already matured so nothing changes much.

This sucks because TomToms voice navigation is hands down the winner of everything out there and their display is placed much better (on the windshield) than the in-car navigation systems. I like dedicated devices that do one thing and do it well.

„...voice navigation is hands down the winner of everything...“ not sure if serious?!

Bought my grandmother the most expensive TomTom model (GO 6200 for approx $400) last year, great big display, hands down the worst voice assistant I have ever used. „Landsberger Street, Munich“ was turned into „Luxembourg“ or similiar. Google Maps voice recognition seems far superior to me.

I don't see what voice recognition has to do with it (maybe you meant voice synthesis), but my tomtom doesn't read out the street names at all, just works with distances and turns, so maybe that particular model (or maybe newer versions of the tomtom firmware) have that 'feature'?

I'll consider this a warning to wait as long as I can with upgrading my oldie, it's still working well though. 7 years and counting...

Even better than Google Maps? It tells you what lane to be in and everything.

Google maps tends to drown you in un-necessary information.

'turn right on such and such a street' which is then un-intelligeble because the synth doesn't understand the local pronounciation.

Vs tomtom: turn right in 150 meters

shorter, and much easier. Besides, if I knew what those streets were called I'd likely not need a navigator in the first place...

TIL TomTom is still in business.

IMHO TomTom devices and maps are leaps and bounds over everyone else. The 5xxx series(with built-in GSM for live traffic and speed cameras) ss easily the best sat nav system I have ever used and I can recommend it to anyone without hesitation.

It's still useful in rental cars. Travellers may not have a working phone number to use mobile phone maps.

offline maps? google and here both offer that

Google don't in all regions.

> Note: Downloading offline maps isn't available in some regions because of contractual limitations, language support, address formats, or other reasons.

Did Google start offering off-line maps with navigation and pathfinding support?

Yes, I use offline maps for navigation all the time when on holiday

I believe they are providing a fair amount of data for Apple Maps.

Yup, at least in Europe. Tapping on top right (i) in Apple Maps shows a TomTom logo along with an "and other data providers" link that gets you there[0].

[0]: https://gspe21-ssl.ls.apple.com/html/attribution-94.html

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