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REVIEW COMMENTS: TomTom Navigator 2004 NA
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Dave
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Joined: Sep 10, 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:23 pm    Post subject: REVIEW COMMENTS: TomTom Navigator 2004 NA Reply with quote

We recently received a review copy of TomTom Navigator 2004 (in the UK this is known as the HP Navigation bundle) and had a chance to compare its functionality to the older versions (3.07 in Europe, 2.24 in the US).

Since TomTom Navigator 2.24 cannot open the newer maps I used a special version of TomTom Navigator 3.07 US – this way both applications use the same map data and I can focus on the application differences. (The only real difference between TTN2.24 and TTN3.07 is the itinerary mode.)

The full review is available here.
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iancjc
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers Dave.

Whilst it's not fair to judge the next European release - lifes not fair - and I for one won't buy a downgrade. The loss of the speed in the display is the worst ommission followed by the loss of the no. of sats and the loss of the ability to set your own speeds on roads.

Why why why?????

Finally great idea to remove the one thing we all wanted in ttn2 and got in ttn3 - why is the itinery feature missing - this saves me time when I have 3 or 4 appointments in a day.

not sure I want to swop checkpoint for the built in warner either - looks very basic.

very dissapointed - and couldn't give it more than 60% - with ttn3.07 scoring around 95% (for me).

So nice review (as ever) of a crappy product - looks like at least one turkey survived christmas. Laughing

Ian
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Mark_anderson_us
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Joined: Feb 03, 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:36 am    Post subject: This version is the final straw for me Reply with quote

Well I just installed my Navigator 2004. What a joke.

This version doesn't seem to support my Fortuna Clip-on GPS (there is no option to select a Sirf serial interface. This brings me to one of my big bug-bears: you can't even read half the strings for the port names. So you have to select a port to see the full name. What a bunch of amateurs. The UI is disgusting and looks like it's been desgined by a high school student on a commodore 64.

These guys seem to have no idea of usability, In v3, to switch maps you clicked on the map, went to switch maps and selected the new map. Now you have to click on the map, select change prefs (to get to a sub menu) and then select the maps (most of whose titles you can't read because they're using 128 point type type).

As for running it modally (not allowing you to get to other apps by going to the menu: another joke. Maybe they should think about reading AND ADHERING TO the human interface guidelines for PPC.

They also seem to have no idea that you cannot sell an "upgrade"" that has half the features of the previous version missing (and mentioning NONE of it in the release notes).

The only saving grace was that my 2004 was a free upgrade. I'm going back to v3 and looking for an alternative vendor for my next upgrade. They've just lost my business and I fell will lose a lot of other people's too. It's so dumb: they could have cleaned up in the market.

The company's support is a joke. You have to wade through menus and menus to get to ask a question and then you'r elucky to get an answer. I ordered my 2004 upgrade from them. It took them weeks to answer my question about when it would arrive. in fact the software arrived 3 days before they answered the question.

My advice to to you all: DO NOT BUY THIS VERSION (or any future version)

If anyone can recommend a good US alternative that supports the Fortuna Clip-on in Sirf mode, I'd be grateful if you'd let me know.

Regards

Mark
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lbendlin
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure why you need the SiRF mode?

Please keep in mind that this is positioned by TomTom not as an upgrade but as a separate consumer oriented product. Having said that I do understand your concerns...

You may want to look at CoPilot 5. Nearly on par with TTN 3. If you feel adventurous, look at Mapopolis. Not the easiest software but by far the fastest.
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Mark_anderson_us
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi lbendlin

thanks for the reply

I want Sirf for the reason the chipset was designed: better reception in "urban canyons"

2004 is sold as an upgrade: here's the details from their web site:

TomTom Navigator 2004
(Software Upgrade)
TomTom is pleased to offer upgrade opportunities to existing customers of TomTom Navigator USA. Details of upgrade choices available and related terms and conditions can be found here.

A free software upgrade is available to those who have purchased and activated TomTom Navigator USA since August 14th, 2004
For those who wish to purchase the software upgrade, it is available for a fee of $53 (includes shipping and handling)
A full set of product CDs is supplied, containing TomTom Navigator 2004 and new maps


Furthermore, it's the ONLY way to get more updated maps than the ancient ones that ship with v3.

Thanks for the tip on CoPilot. I may give Mapopolis a try

Regards

Mark
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lbendlin
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark_anderson_us wrote:

I want Sirf for the reason the chipset was designed: better reception in "urban canyons"


Be careful not to confuse chipset with protocol. Your receiver may have a SiRF XTrac chipset (which does help in multi-reception situations) but that doesn't mean the receiver needs to run in SiRF protocol mode .

You will get the same benefits from XTrac when running the - much more common - NMEA protocol.
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gpssparky
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Joined: Dec 19, 2003
Posts: 100
Location: Coventry

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 9:59 am    Post subject: No MPH? Reply with quote

Are you sure you cannot conigure the screen to show mph in portrait mode?
When I ran v4 on Palm I'm sure I had it showing on screen, there was an option to choose what was shown.
I switched to PPC and can't check it now!
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omaruk
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Joined: 18/07/2003 11:50:47
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Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Must say it doesn't look good, the lack of speed and sat fixes nor the compass - the stuff that was very useful. No Itenary I found this invaluable for multiple stop offs or a particular scenic route I wanted to cover!!!

Definately a backwards step. Do TOmTom do any market research? and do they ever look at this site to gauge an opinion? So the upshot is we'll probably have the M6 Toll road but a far worse product.

I would rather stick with version 3 with newer maps do you think they would make that an option? I doubt it, as whatever we do ask for falls on deaf ears.
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a4ace
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i hope they plan to add the missing features. i can forego with the speed display which i really like. but the map view i use quite extensively. mapping of hardware buttons is also a must for me. and i hope they would have an option to use ttn3 menus. in case they don't add these, i hope ttn3 can read future map updates.
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dibble
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Joined: Nov 18, 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 2:01 pm    Post subject: Tom Tom review Reply with quote

Well........whilst trying to decide whether the new version is going to be as good for me as TT3 (think I'd just rather have some new maps to run on TT3!) it has to said, what an absolutely supurb review. Well written with so much detail that my little brain is still processing it all! The side by side review was especially good.

Well done - brilliant job.

Dibble
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Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lbendlin wrote:
Mark_anderson_us wrote:

I want Sirf for the reason the chipset was designed: better reception in "urban canyons"


Be careful not to confuse chipset with protocol. Your receiver may have a SiRF XTrac chipset (which does help in multi-reception situations) but that doesn't mean the receiver needs to run in SiRF protocol mode .

You will get the same benefits from XTrac when running the - much more common - NMEA protocol.

I have to agree with Lutz, you don't need to run in SiRF mode to receive the greater sensitivity either from XTrac, or from the latest SiRF Chipset. The only real benefit you will see is a quicker update rate if using SiRF protocol.
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nej
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only imagine that TomTom will have 2 versions of the software - a consumer and a professional version, with the consumer being this new version.

I do a lot of work with TTN3, for business purposes. The reason for this is the excellent SDK, which allows me to feed it a GPS signal via code, and also to communicate with it, to show things on the map, make it navigate to a location via code etc etc. These things make it invaluable and make it stand out from the rest of the navigation packages out there.

I can't be the only person doing this kind of thing with it, and unless TomTom release a map update to V3 without forcing people to move to this software there will be no reason to keep using it, as it simply won't do what I need it to do. And we buy a lot of copies (although probably not in their grand total sales scheme of things).

Oh, and a .NET compatible version of the SDK would be nice too...
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DavidW
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't hold your breath for a 'professional' version. I think TomTom have retired the Navigator 3 codebase - it wasn't portable to other architectures. Supposedly the only reason that Navigator 3 released in Europe was the development was so far advanced and this "common platform" code still at a relatively early stage that a decision was made to finish and release Navigator 3.

The "common platform" code is what you see in Navigator 2004 unless TomTom have done a lot more work that they haven't yet released on any platform. There's still something like two months to go before TomTom will probably unveil the next European version of Navigator for the Pocket PC, but that's not long really.


Maybe we'll be able to continue using Navigator 3 with the maps from the next European version if we buy the upgrade to the next European Pocket PC version of Navigator, but I have my doubts that TomTom will allow you to activate the new maps on Navigator 3.

Further, I can't ever see Navigator 3 getting WM2003SE Landscape support (it looks like it nearly works in map view, but a pop-up comes over the screen forcing you to press OK to shut the application down) or WM2003SE VGA support. If WM2005 breaks Navigator 3, I doubt we'll see any fixes - especially if the new version of Navigator is announced in March / April (WM2005 is supposedly slated for release to the device manufacturers in the middle of April).

In other words, I suspect even maintenance for Navigator 3 is coming to an end, and I wouldn't be surprised if 3.07 / 3.07T is the last version.



At the moment, the situation is looking very worrying for those of us using Navigator 3 in Europe. I think we can be certain that the upcoming "common platform" version will get Traffic support, as there'll be plenty of potential upgraders who, like me, have a Traffic subscription. Some "common platform" products, such as TomTom Mobile - the SmartPhone / Nokia Series 60 product - have Traffic support now.


As for the rest of what's missing in Navigator 2004 compared to Navigator 3 - I'm really not sure it is going to be implemented at all, and especially not before the next version of Navigator for the Pocket PC in Europe is released.


Loss of avoid areas and Itineraries would be pretty catastrophic for me - as Lutz hinted in his review, I use avoid areas to work round map errors, and Itineraries are important for me on certain journeys to get a sensible route for some journeys I make fairly regularly. If you're using Traffic, you need the route set to get alerts of incidents on your route. Further, from where I live in Bedfordshire, Navigator 3 is rather too prone to plan routes via the M25, when there's good A road alternatives - an Itinerary with a couple of drive-by points sorts this out.

Loss of the "schematic junctions" on the safety screen is another big blow. It was one of the best new features in Navigator 3 - as you approached a junction, you got a schematic representation of the junction, devoid of superfluous information and not scrolling or moving around to distract you. What's the point of me having a 4 inch 480 x 640 screen in-car for Navigator to put a huge white arrow on it?

The whole "take over the machine" approach is a real shame. Am I the only one who plans journeys in the map view, sometimes switching between Navigator 3, Pocket IE and Pocket Informant repeatedly? It sounds as if that is all but impossible with this version.

The GPS configuration situation sounds even more of a mess than in current versions of Navigator - much as I had thought that impossible. I was already aware of iffy compatibility with GpsGate. I don't fully understand your comments about TomTom GPS, Lutz - you seem to be saying it's possible to graft some or all of the TomTom GPS 2.07 or 3.07 into the mix to improve things, but I'm not sure on how you're suggesting this is done and exactly what capabilities you get as a result.


Putting it bluntly, Navigator 2004 is not a Pocket PC program. It's Go made to run on a Pocket PC. It doesn't make any use of the Pocket PC GUI (unlike the current map / Traffic / instructions / split views), hardware buttons (I make a lot of use of my hardware buttons with the current Navigator), add-in software capabilities (via an SDK), the ability to integrate with Contacts or the plethora of GPS options that are available.

I don't regard this as a "common platform" approach to software development. True "common platform" software uses as much common code as possible, but does have some platform specific code to fit the customs and user interface of the target platform. This just imposes customs from the generic platform - basically the Go UI brought to the Pocket PC.


I wouldn't object to a "basic" mode, like that shown in Lutz's review, that you have to opt out of. However, much of the power and finesse of Navigator 3 has gone in what I see in the review.

This isn't even comparable to Navigator 2. There's really three new features in Navigator 3 - Itineraries, the "schematic junctions" on the safety screen and Traffic. None of these are in Navigator 2004, and I fear the only one that will be in an eventual future European version of Navigator for the Pocket PC is, as I said earlier, Traffic.


I suspect the only reason I'll upgrade to anything like this if this is what the next European version of Navigator for the Pocket PC is will be like is because it's a lot cheaper to upgrade than to start again with a different product - and/or you can use the new maps with the Navigator 3 software.


Over the medium term, if TomTom do release something like this as the next version of Navigator for the Pocket PC in Europe and make no moves back towards the functionality of Navigator 3, I will almost certainly be looking for alternative software.

If ALK sort out CoPilot a bit better, and the Traffic stuff starts to work, I may go for that. My ideal would be something similar to Navigator 3, live traffic support over GPRS, full support for hardware buttons, landscape mode and VGA, and ideally Navteq mapping, because TeleAtlas seem to be more interested in expanding map coverage than correcting errors in their existing mapped areas.



David
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Zeena
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all I will thank you for a good review!

If this is what we will see as next version here in Europe I think I will use the TT ver 3...!

...as an "advanced" user of TomTom I am really disappointed...

lbendlin wrote:
Those users will want to use the program for scenic rides, away from main highways, and on journeys with multiple stopover points. TTN 2004 supports neither – it can only do simple journeys, and it only will calculate "quickest" routes which invariably favour the exact major highways that the leisure drivers want to avoid.

Not being a leisure driver myself I am interested in your feedback – do you share my opinion or is this a non-issue?


No – this is absolutely an issue. A have drive a lot in Europe in holydays and I miss a function like “avoid highway”, “avoid pay ways”, “avoid ferry”. In Norway also “avoid tunnels” would be a nice feature for leisure drivers, to take you around tunnels to see the beautifully views.

Removing the opportunity that CheckPOInt gave you is a mystery. I think almost all of the Norwegian TT3 users use CheckPOInt.

Why removing all of the functions that TT has done is a mystery to me.

TomTom can’t hide behind and blame TeleAtlas for poor maps. TeleAtlas have better maps in cooperation with other navigating software. So I think TT buys the “cheap pack” from TeleAtlas.

TomTom are going to loose the battle for customers in the coming years if they follow this path.

My total opinion about this is that TomTom are going backwards into the future!
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DavidW
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gunnar - I hope you don't mind, but I've edited your post to correct the attribution of the review comments to Lutz rather than me.



David
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