TomTom sat-navs broken by 'leap year' bug

TomTom sat-navs have been struck by a 'leap year' bug that sees them unable to find their location.

TomTom sat-navs have been struck down by a 'leap year' bug that sees the road-navigating gadgets failing to find their location.

In a statement on its support site, TomTom says that the problem is caused by a bug in the GPS receiver's software that has left some devices unable to obtain a GPS position since 31 March.

"We are working hard on a permanent solution that we will make available on our website as a downloadable software fix," TomTom assures. The company says that a "limited number of models" are suffering from the glitch, so let me know in the comments below if your TomTom is borked.

Symptoms could include a grey screen, or a notice that reads, "Waiting for a valid GPS signal..." or "Poor GPS signal...".

If you need to get some travel information in a hurry, TomTom says that resetting your device temporarily resolves the issue. On some models you can do this by holding the On/Off button down for 20 seconds, but here's a directory of TomTom devices and how to reset them.

The BBC reports that TomTom gadgets worldwide appear to be affected, with complaints flooding in from around the globe. 

A software fix available through the website isn't exactly a simple solution, and I'd wager this update will be delivered via TomTom Home, which is a program you download onto your PC or Mac to update your sat-nav's software. I can't imagine there are many TomTom owners out there relishing the thought of plugging their gadgets into their computer to update software.

With many smart phones offering navigation apps, the future of sat-navs is definitely up in the air. This latest issue certainly won't endear the noisy little boxes to drivers, and if -- as the name implies -- the bug was caused by the fact that 2012 is a leap year, that sounds like an embarrassing oversight on TomTom's part.

Is your TomTom affected? Is it time to call Brian Blessed ? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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