In one of our earlier articles, we discussed some reasons why a smartphone with GPS may be a better purchase than an in-car GPS system. The main reason why a smartphone may be more practical than an in-car GPS is that smartphone GPS app maps are updated regularly. When compared to an in-car GPS that extracts saved map data, a smartphone app is far more intelligent.
The GPS giant, TomTom, has been collecting data from users and a number of portable devices for some time now. This data is then used to update TomTom maps. Prior to this past week (June 7, 2011), iPhone users who have downloaded the TomTom app could not use this data. Now, TomTom offers HD Traffic – a service that updates iPhone TomTom apps every eight minutes.
Aside from the fact that a constantly updated map means better routes, HD Traffic by TomTom will allow people users to find faster routes, which, in turn, will save users lots of gas money. In one test conducted by Cnet.com, HD Traffic saved testers an average of 1 hour and 20 minutes on a daily commute. This time would have been spent sitting in traffic if HD Traffic didn’t exist.
The idea behind this new app is to find drivers routes that are jammed with traffic. For the average commuter who’s used to sitting in traffic for hours on end, HD Traffic may prove to be invaluable. Then again, there is a value to this new app, and TomTom isn’t giving away the latest in GPS technology for free.
The Cost of HD Traffic
Presently, HD Traffic is not available to iPhone users. TomTom is allowing some testers to use the service for free for the time being. After TomTom passes through Apple’s infamous security checks, the app will be available for iPhone users. Yet, unlike other apps, this one will cost you $19.99 yearly. One has to wonder whether or not all apps are headed towards this high price bracket, but that’s a concern for another article.
There are rumors that HD Traffic will be available for Android phones within the near future. Since almost every app that is available through the iPhone is now available through Android, this rumor holds a lot of truth. Android users can look for the app sometime after Apple has approved the TomTom app.
Do You Need This App?
Well, that’s a question that you’ll have to answer for yourself. Here’s a bit of help: if you commute daily, you might consider a $20 yearly fee a true investment. After all, you will save countless hours and gas money simply by using this app. If you break it down, $20 per year comes to around $1.70 per month.
If, on the other hand, you work from home, take the subway, or indulge in taxi cabs or personal chauffeurs, HD Traffic may not be for you. The future of GPS does look bright, and TomTom seems to be cornering the market.