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What's Next in Vehicle Navigation

Techstination feature for Thursday, April 27, 2006

What's next in vehicle navigation? Tracking your friends. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. TomTom…the largest maker of car navigation in Europe….has been winning customers in the U.S. as well…competing with Garmin, Magellan and others. TomTom president Jocelyn Vigreux says the idea of GPS navigation is catching on fast with consumers. And new features may make it even more attractive. TomTom is planning new devices that will let users…with permission…track family members and friends….

"We're getting to the next step in navigation. Let's be clear. Navigation devices used to be islands. Now we have…by enabling the buddy finding feature on our device, we've now gotten to the next step, kind of navigation 2.0, which basically allows people to connect and be able to use navigation not only to know where they are themselves, but have also a spatial awareness… where their friends are …or their interests are. You're going to see a lot of connectivity, a lot of wireless…a lot of content being downloaded over the air, for instance, to navigation devices. Whether we're talking about weather or traffic."

The new services will allow TomTom to charge subscription fees. Vigreux says traffic information may cost 50 to 60 dollars a year….but would allow users to more easily avoid aggravating delays. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.