TomTom’s portable devices have lost their hipness.
photo: TomTom
Smartphones’ GPS apps have eaten into GPS device sales.

TomTom’s North American sales of its portable GPS units have been falling since consumers have decided that they’d rather use the GPS apps in their smartphones. TomTom’s shares dropped from 56 euros in 2007 to less than 3 euros last month. The company has announced major cuts in R&D, marketing, and payroll overheads. They also will outsource some Netherlands-based manufacturing to less expensive countries. (Does this mean China?) They predict future growth in the OEM automotive and traffic information markets.

Reuters reported last week, Route unclear for struggling TomTom.

Two years ago I wrote an article about how pleased I was with my new entry-level TomTom GPS. I still am. Smartphones are fine for GPS info, but they rely upon continuous data connections with cell towers to display maps: if they lose their (billable time) data connections, their maps no longer update. By contrast, maps are built into portable TomTom GPS devices; all they need are signals from at least 3 GPS satellites.

Since the early 1970’s, the Oakland-based band Tower Of Power has asked, “What Is Hip?”. (Answer: Hipness is what it is. Sometimes hipness is what it ain’t. What’s hip today might become passe’.)

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

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