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Successful iPhone app helps TomTom withstand free competitors

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
Personal navigation company TomTom this week reported a profit in its fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, thanks in part to more than 100,000 sales of its popular GPS navigation application for the iPhone.

The iPhone application crossed the six-figure mark in terms of sales in less than six months on the market. Last quarter, the company also released its car kit, featuring a built-in GPS receiver, loud speaker and microphone.

TomTom's profit of 73 million euros ($99 million) was an improvement from a year ago, when the device maker lost 989 million euros on high debt levels from the purchase of mapmaker Tele Atlas for 2.9 billion euros. The positive quarter also after both Google and Nokia announced they would provide free navigation to customers via their smartphone handsets.

"The industry we operate in is going through substantial change," said TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn. "Increasingly, digital maps are being deployed in the battle for mobile phone screens, either via smartphone or mobile Internet applications."

"We see limited impact from this on our current revenue streams from PNDs, automotive and fleet management. The demand for applications that use location will grow across all markets and all geographies, and we see new opportunities for partnerships and business models, particularly in the mobile space."

The TomTom application was first released for iPhone in August of last year. An update issued in November added support for the GPS receiver-less iPod touch and first-generation iPhone. Both devices can gain GPS functionality with the purchase of the TomTom car kit.



Originally released for $99, TomTom dropped the price of its iPhone application with maps of the U.S. and Canada to $79.99. A U.S.-only map costs $59.99, and numerous other international options are available.
post #2 of 51
A positive message for app developers / software companies and even companies that are used to selling hardware and find that with the iPhone / iTouch and soon to be iPad hardware platforms they can sell versions of their product in a software only version and turn a profit.
post #3 of 51
This is because Apple provides a valuable platform for both developers and users. With the iPad, the best is yet to come. Eventually
post #4 of 51
A word of warning!

No matter what the condition of the road appears to be, if a GPS takes you on dirt road, avoid it all costs if possible.

On my many travels as a photographer, the dirt roads are dirt for a reason, they are not stable enough to be paved and are changed so much the GPS isn't updated enough to cover them. You get out there and then try to get around and your lost, sometimes the GPS won't even plot the way BACK!

I spent the night in my SUV stuck up to my axle in spring mud, 26 miles from nowhere on a road that turned into a snowmobile trail in Maine and another time 14 miles out in Georgia behind a washout.

Avoid the dirt roads. Trust me.



And another thing, sometimes the shortest route off the main route really isn't faster, because there is lights and traffic. Plus GPS don't work to well around tall buildings and airports, so if your going around there, write down the instructions because the GPS is going haywire. Other than that, they work great, provided you keep it updated.
post #5 of 51
Or you may be in North Dakota, where paved roads are a rarity.
post #6 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

A word of warning!

No matter what the condition of the road appears to be, if a GPS takes you on dirt road, avoid it all costs if possible.

On my many travels as a photographer, the dirt roads are dirt for a reason, they are not stable enough to be paved and are changed so much the GPS isn't updated enough to cover them. You get out there and then try to get around and your lost, sometimes the GPS won't even plot the way BACK!

I spent the night in my SUV stuck up to my axle in spring mud, 26 miles from nowhere on a road that turned into a snowmobile trail in Maine and another time 14 miles out in Georgia behind a washout.

Avoid the dirt roads. Trust me.

Suck it up get stuck is half the fun. Besides the most interesting places to go are the ones where the hardier variants of mankind venture. Cities are for wimps.

Dave
post #7 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Personal navigation company TomTom this week reported a profit in its fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, thanks in part to more than 100,000 sales of its popular GPS navigation application for the iPhone.

I was going to hold off for a while until more reviews came in, but I got the app and car kit for Xmas.

Absolutely fantastic products. Extremely accurate. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Combine with Dragon Dictation and I can dictate an email on the move.

They recently outlawed using hand-held cell phones in cars here. So I plug in my iPhone every time I get in my car. And it is a simple transfer to our second vehicle. Actually amazed at the Bluetooth speaker. Best handsfree I ever had. Got rid of the headsets.
post #8 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Besides the most interesting places to go are the ones where the hardier variants of mankind venture. Cities are for wimps.

Dave


Oh I agree, just be prepared for anything if a GPS takes you on dirt road, that's all.
post #9 of 51
What a 'sympathetic bunch' we are today....

I used to have an F350 Dually (truck) and it would get stuck on wet grass...I always carried a shovel and two pieces of carpet to get unstuck with!

Now I own a 4WD Jeep Wrangler and never get stuck! Mainly, because I don't go places where you need 4WD-if that makes any sense!

Next payday I'm buying the TomTom App...

Anyone know if you can create a route on you Mac desktop with multiple stops and then sync with your iPhone? Or does every address have to by 'inputted' using the iPhone's keyboard?

Thanks in advance!
post #10 of 51
FYI: Jason Snell/MacWorld did a video podcast of a few GPS apps for the iPhone and he liked TomTom's the best....

http://www.macworld.com/article/1424...odcast122.html
post #11 of 51
Love the TomTom app!
Returned the car kit.

One critical flaw...it won't work with 95% of iPhone cases.
I didn't want to take my phone in and out of the case every time I wanted to use it.

Other than that it is an awesome piece of hardware.
I hope they fix that issue in a future revision.
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

What a 'sympathetic bunch' we are today....

I used to have an F350 Dually (truck) and it would get stuck on wet grass...I always carried a shovel and two pieces of carpet to get unstuck with!

Now I own a 4WD Jeep Wrangler and never get stuck! Mainly, because I don't go places where you need 4WD-if that makes any sense!

Next payday I'm buying the TomTom App...

Anyone know if you can create a route on you Mac desktop with multiple stops and then sync with your iPhone? Or does every address have to by 'inputted' using the iPhone's keyboard?

Thanks in advance!

I create contacts for my various stops on my Mac.
These contacts get synced wirelessly via MobileMe before I can walk from my desk to my car.
Once in the car it takes 20-30 seconds to set up my first destination.
Once I reach a destination, it only takes a few seconds to punch in my next destination.
post #13 of 51
This is a huge message to hardware manufacturers and App Developers out there....the iPhone can and will replace many 'one-trick ponies' in hardware....and if your software is good you can charge $65 and get it! Everything doesn't have to be free or $0.99! Some of the Golf apps and bird watcher Apps come to mind where the premium ones charge and get $20-$60 per app.

post #14 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I create contacts for my various stops on my Mac.
These contacts get synced wirelessly via MobileMe before I can walk from my desk to my car.
Once in the car it takes 20-30 seconds to set up my first destination.
Once I reach a destination, it only takes a few seconds to punch in my next destination.

Thanks so much, Johnny....TomTom it is!
post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

I was going to hold off for a while until more reviews came in, but I got the app and car kit for Xmas.

Absolutely fantastic products. Extremely accurate. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Combine with Dragon Dictation and I can dictate an email on the move.

They recently outlawed using hand-held cell phones in cars here. So I plug in my iPhone every time I get in my car. And it is a simple transfer to our second vehicle. Actually amazed at the Bluetooth speaker. Best handsfree I ever had. Got rid of the headsets.

The TomTom app(w/o car kit) works best in the suburbs.
In urban areas where streets are very close together the TomTom app can have difficulty getting a fix.
It also struggles when on highways in urban areas when traveling fast.

With the car kit it has no trouble what so ever due to the larger GPS chips in the cradle.
post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

The TomTom app(w/o car kit) works best in the suburbs.
In urban areas where streets are very close together the TomTom app can have difficulty getting a fix.
It also struggles when on highways in urban areas when traveling fast.

With the car kit it has no trouble what so ever due to the larger GPS chips in the cradle.


The standalone TomTom has the similar problems you mentioned.

Perhaps the issue was resolved in the cradle versions.
post #17 of 51
hope Garmin takes note and comes to its senses.
post #18 of 51
I wonder how much Navigon has made from their App. I haven't tried TomTom but I can vouch for Navigon. Awesome app.
post #19 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

The TomTom app(w/o car kit) works best in the suburbs.
In urban areas where streets are very close together the TomTom app can have difficulty getting a fix.
It also struggles when on highways in urban areas when traveling fast.

With the car kit it has no trouble what so ever due to the larger GPS chips in the cradle.

Having experienced a lot of marine nav systems from Loran, radar and then GPS, I had resolved not to purchase a GPS app for my iPhone until more reviews came in. Great spouse and sister-in-law made the decision easy for me.

Testing with and without the car kit, definitely swayed me to keep the car kit. Speed, accuracy, hands-free calling, charging, and it looks and feels just beautiful.A

As for the fact you can't really use the car kit with an cased iPhone, it doesn't bother medon't use one at all. In fact, I was looking at the Magellan. It is touted to fit most hard shell cases or silicon skins. However, IMO, it doesn't look as nice. But I did hear that you can use the TomTom iPhone app in it.
post #20 of 51
100'000 copies? how is this number impressive?
Nokia's free Ovi Maps was downloaded 1.4 million times in the first week alone. That's impressive. Nokia sells about 100 million smartphones a year: guess what? All of them will come preloaded with free navigation. How is TomTom gonna survive that?
post #21 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

FYI: Jason Snell/MacWorld did a video podcast of a few GPS apps for the iPhone and he liked TomTom's the best....

http://www.macworld.com/article/1424...odcast122.html

However since that comparo dates from Aug 2009 it doesn't cover the current versions of any of the nav apps, and so is essentially useless at this point.
post #22 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by lav1daloca View Post

100'000 copies? how is this number impressive?
Nokia's free Ovi Maps was downloaded 1.4 million times in the first week alone. That's impressive. Nokia sells about 100 million smartphones a year: guess what? All of them will come preloaded with free navigation. How is TomTom gonna survive that?

Over a million downloads of a free app is not necessarily all that impressive. You should expect a free app to be downloaded a lot. Over a million copies of an app that costs almost $100 in a week; now that would be really impressive.
post #23 of 51
Love the tomtom app and the carkit as well.... I wasn't crazy about the handsfree speaker, but the carkit works great with music... I leave the headphoenes plugged in, double clicking to skip tracks .... With the 3GS it's great using voice control for music.... Thank you tomtom and Apple!!
post #24 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Having experienced a lot of marine nav systems from Loran, radar and then GPS, I had resolved not to purchase a GPS app for my iPhone until more reviews came in. Great spouse and sister-in-law made the decision easy for me.

Testing with and without the car kit, definitely swayed me to keep the car kit. Speed, accuracy, hands-free calling, charging, and it looks and feels just beautiful.A

As for the fact you can't really use the car kit with an cased iPhone, it doesn't bother me–don't use one at all. In fact, I was looking at the Magellan. It is touted to fit most hard shell cases or silicon skins. However, IMO, it doesn't look as nice. But I did hear that you can use the TomTom iPhone app in it.

hey abster were you in the Navy? If so don't forget 'Omega' nav system 'round about the time of Loran C and A.

I was a navigator out 'shooting' stars with a sextant for 3 hours every evening and morning!

I remember when GPS first came out and only the Carriers had them and they could 'plot' themselves swinging around their anchor chain with a push of a button. When we got one in 1981 it was as big as the biggest microwave oven you ever seen! Now they're on a phone!
post #25 of 51
Don't wast your cash on any expensive gps apps Motion X Drive is .099 cents !! with a yearly voice subscription of 25 $ works better than any high end gps app
post #26 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by cash4chaos View Post

Don't wast your cash on any expensive gps apps Motion X Drive is .099 cents !! with a yearly voice subscription of 25 $ works better than any high end gps app

I do like this app. It works beautifully.
post #27 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by cash4chaos View Post

Don't wast your cash on any expensive gps apps Motion X Drive is .099 cents !! with a yearly voice subscription of 25 $ works better than any high end gps app

That's almost free!

At ".099 cents" each, you can buy ten of them for one penny!
post #28 of 51
Navigon is much better then TomTom. I wish I didn't get caught up in the hype that surrounded TomTom when it came out. Navigon uses less power, has better looking 3D maps, has nicer street view, better voice directions, more accurate street name pronunciation, and costs less money. Navigon pulled out of the North American market so they have less fear of cannibalization of their other products too.
post #29 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

hey abster were you in the Navy? If so don't forget 'Omega' nav system 'round about the time of Loran C and A.

I was a navigator out 'shooting' stars with a sextant for 3 hours every evening and morning!

I remember when GPS first came out and only the Carriers had them and they could 'plot' themselves swinging around their anchor chain with a push of a button. When we got one in 1981 it was as big as the biggest microwave oven you ever seen! Now they're on a phone!

Army-signal corps. Didn't use the Omega: before my time. But a sextant, yes for personal boating.

As a civilian, the first GPS were out 300 ft. and very expensive. Used both as backups to each other for quite some time.
post #30 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

The standalone TomTom has the similar problems you mentioned.

Perhaps the issue was resolved in the cradle versions.

He was talking about the standalone TomTom. (The TomTom app(w/o car kit): w/o means without)
post #31 of 51
Apple rejected Google Maps with free navigation, true. TomTom earned a healthy profit because they were coddled by Apple, who just wanted to preserve its 30%. This is great news for the developer and Apple, but who is the real loser here? Exactly, all the people who paid for something offered at no charge outside the apple ecosystem. The situation itself boggles my mind, but the twisted reporting of it is just bizarre. Well, unless the developers outnumber the users here.
post #32 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by lav1daloca View Post

100'000 copies? how is this number impressive?
Nokia's free Ovi Maps was downloaded 1.4 million times in the first week alone. That's impressive. Nokia sells about 100 million smartphones a year: guess what? All of them will come preloaded with free navigation. How is TomTom gonna survive that?

I'm guessing they will survive because:

100,000 x $100 = $10 million for TomTom
1.4 million x free = $0 for Nokia

Quote:
Originally Posted by bstring

Apple rejected Google Maps with free navigation, true. TomTom earned a healthy profit because they were coddled by Apple, who just wanted to preserve its 30%. This is great news for the developer and Apple, but who is the real loser here? Exactly, all the people who paid for something offered at no charge outside the apple ecosystem. The situation itself boggles my mind, but the twisted reporting of it is just bizarre. Well, unless the developers outnumber the users here.

Some people round here like to take the point of view that Apple making loads of money means that they still exist to sell good products so it's good for us that Apple make money. I agree with you that the consumer loses out and that the TomTom sales aren't a good example of a success story. They were already popular and have used their brand to rip off 100,000 people by selling their software alone for close to the same price as a standalone GPS unit.

I'd like to see how much money Doodle Jump has made. That useless app has been at the top of the charts for ages. That must have sold millions of copies.
post #33 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brometheus View Post

Over a million downloads of a free app is not necessarily all that impressive. You should expect a free app to be downloaded a lot. Over a million copies of an app that costs almost $100 in a week; now that would be really impressive.

Still, if you use a calculator you'll see that in the last two quarters TomTom made less than 1 % of their overall revenue with their iPhone software (about 6 million of about 1 billion for 6 months). To say that this tiny revenue helped them turn a profit is ridicoulus. Even if they fired all their hardware engineers, they would have to grow their iPhone sales thirty- or fiftyfold to run the company only on them.
post #34 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I'd like to see how much money Doodle Jump has made. That useless app has been at the top of the charts for ages. That must have sold millions of copies.

They've sold close to 2 million copies, according to Google. That would be 1 million in net revenues. It's a game by the way, not a toy app.
post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by reverie View Post

They've sold close to 2 million copies, according to Google. That would be 1 million in net revenues. It's a game by the way, not a toy app.

See now that's a success story. Making a game that basically replicates one of the Super Mario levels and generating over 1/10th the amount of money of one of the biggest GPS companies in the world. Just two guys in the company - Igor and Marko:

http://www.businessinsider.com/iphon...ley+Insider%29
post #36 of 51
i still use google maps.
post #37 of 51
Guys, I want to get the TomTom app (even though Navigon looks great too) but I want to have it on a new iTunes account. I already have enough credit on my current account though and want to send the credit to a new one I set up. Is it possible to do that, so the credit transfers to the new account?
post #38 of 51
Having used several navigation options for the iPhone, I still feel the Tom Tom package is over priced for what it offers. The $99 unit is acceptable for all that it offers, but the App itself once $99, now $59 dollars for US, is still nothing but brand cushion.

In reality, the $30 CoPilot app is just as good. Good enough that I have not seen the need to go with Tom Tom for the carkit. I have my own mount, and sometimes place it elsewhere. There seems to be no need for additional GPS tech from the Tom Tom carkit. CoPilot just works.

So, $160 or $30 (plus 10-30 for a mounting solution)?

Same basic experience. At over 100 k downloads, I'd say Tom Tom's brand confidence was well placed.
post #39 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by lav1daloca View Post

100'000 copies? how is this number impressive?
Nokia's free Ovi Maps was downloaded 1.4 million times in the first week alone. That's impressive. Nokia sells about 100 million smartphones a year: guess what? All of them will come preloaded with free navigation. How is TomTom gonna survive that?

How does TomTom survive free Maps software built into the iPhone? I wouldn't be surprised if there are paid third party map apps for Nokias too.

If you want to top charts, free is the way to go. If you're not a hardware maker but still a professional developer, you need something to make that money back somehow. No one can expect the same pull as a free or cheap counterpart, but often there there is a market for something better or different than what is available for cheap or free.
post #40 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by cash4chaos View Post

Don't wast your cash on any expensive gps apps Motion X Drive is .099 cents !! with a yearly voice subscription of 25 $ works better than any high end gps app

I picked up Motion X Drive this morning.

Nice looking interface. However, it is not as fast or as accurate as my TomTom/Car Kit. And it sucks up my limited data plan.

I really feel that the additional GPS chip in the car kit is significant. Autocharging is a must and now that handsfree is the law, the Bluetooth speaker is well worth it. Plus the quality and ease of attaching the dashmount is unsurpassed.

More important, I can use my TomTom/Car Kit without worrying about roaming when I cross the border, or where 3G service is limited.

I could get a combination of mount/holder/speaker/charger minus the GPS chip for less mind you, but why mess up my Lexus with all the crappy looking plastic.
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