TomTom breathes new life into its line of portable navigation devices with this week's announcement of the totally redesigned GO series.
Now, when I say completely redesigned, I don't mean that TomTom has reinvented the wheel. The new GO series still uses the same touchscreen on a suction cup form factor that all dashboard navigators have used for a decade. However, the new models have a more rounded design than before and now use a glass touchscreen that is available in just three sizes -- 4.3-inches, 5-inches, and 6-inches -- all of which are pretty big. The touchscreen's capacitive sensitivity nets you the taps, pinch-to-zoom. and swipe gestures that one would expect on a smartphone or tablet.
The unit also appears to make use of a dashboard mount rather than a windshield mount, which makes me wonder if TomTom is using one of those tacky, sticks-to-anything gel suction cups like the or TackForm C-Fit or an adhesive plastic puck. I'll have to wait until more information is released to find out.
The most dramatic changes to the new GO series take place within its software. In the video below, it looks like TomTom has completely redesigned its interface for this new generation of navigators. Gone is the traditional menu screen and TomTom's odd separate maps for navigation and search. Instead, the GO appears to have one map that serves both purposes. Tapping a destination on this 3D map (with 3D buildings) while swiping and pinching around brings up TomTom's new Tap&Go feature that immediately begins navigation to that point.
There appears to be a button in the bottom corner of the screen that brings up a menu that overlays the map and, based on the brief glances shown in the demo video, the new interface looks gorgeous. Users can save their favorite destinations to a My Places list that can be quickly called up at the touch of a button. I like that users never really seem to leave the map for this interface.
The GO series will feature TomTom's Lifetime Traffic service. When navigating to a destination, will display a Route Bar that presents upcoming traffic, speed and red light cameras, or other relevant information in a simplified form. This lifetime of traffic data will reach the device in one of two ways: users can Bluetooth pair a smartphone and use their current data plan or opt for one of the Always Connected models that has its own built-in data connection.
Missing from TomTom's GO announcement is any mention of using the data connection to pipe other data into the navigation experience, like how Magellan is integrating Yelp, Foursquare, live fuel pricing, and cloud destination and favorites syncing into its newest.
Pricing and availability of the new TomTom GO series of navigators hasn't been announced. For the new, slick interface alone, I'm interested in getting my hands on this new device.