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Oh no, not on the device, but the desktop computer you plug it into via USB. So it can download maps while the device isn't connected, over your home internet connection (but probably not your phone), overnight or whenever.

Yes, it was not appropriate for situations where you had to pay for upload bandwidth. We were very careful in designing the gui to disclose the fact that it would use your upload bandwidth, explain the possible costs and benefits, let users opt-in if that was ok with them, monitor the download status, and switch the BitTorrent feature on and off.

TomTom real time traffic prediction system depends on users trusting them enough to opt-in to uploading anonymized trip measurements, so it was very important not to do something that broke their trust by abusing their network connection.


TomTom had an "iTunes-like" desktop content management and device control desktop app called TomTom Home, which was implemented in xulrunner (the underlying framework of Firefox and Thunderbird, kind of a predecessor to Electron for writing cross platform desktop apps in JavaScript with C++ XP/COM plugins).

The first thing I tried was to make an XP/COM plugin out of the LibTorrent library. That worked ok, but the idea of increasing the size and complexity of what was already essentially a web browser with a whole bunch more complex code that does lots of memory allocation and networking all the time, didn't seem like a good design. This was long before Firefox supported multiple processes, so the same app handing bittorrent would bloat the app and degrade the user interface responsiveness.

However RedSwoosh, FoxTorrent and BitTorrent DNA all ran in separate processes that just handled all the BitTorrent stuff, and that you could talk to via https (to stream the file with a special url, and retrieve progress telemetry on another url). And it's incredibly easy to integrate xulrunner or any web browser with those servers via http, so no C++ XP/COM plugin required.

Another issue is that you don't want every application to have its own BitTorrent client built in, or you will trash the network and disk, since otherwise they would compete for resources. It needs to be a centralized a system service, shared by any app that needs it.

BitTorrent DNA worked nicely that way. And it could fall back to the CDN to download at full speed if there weren't enough seeders.

> not on the device, but the desktop computer you plug it into via USB


P2P-with-failover-to-CDN is what Spotify famously used to do.

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