TomTom's iPhone navigation app has hit the streets, and we've taken it for a spin, but what about the iPhone car kit that TomTom has promised us? What, exactly, will this kit add to navigation on the iPhone to justify the additional $100 it is expected to add to the price tag of the $99 app?
Most of the features indicated in the promo video released by TomTom seem like duplicates or enhancements of features already present on the iPhone itself. For example, the cradle will include its own discrete GPS chip, which should aid in more precise positioning.
A built-in microphone and speaker should be louder and, hopefully, clearer than the iPhone's own built-in equipment. A 12-volt in-car charger should keep the iPhone juiced, and an analog audio output will allow people to utilize their cars' speakers for turn-by-turn directions and music playback.
So will the app and car kit package be worth $200? For iPhone users, maybe not. Again, many of the features that the TomTom kit should bring are duplications of things that the iPhone already does, and until we can test the kit, there's no way of knowing how much an improvement the kit makes.
However, TomTom has promised that it would make its navigator app available to iPod Touch users. As the Touch lacks a GPS chip of its own, the only way we see that happening is via this car kit. With that in mind, perhaps there exists a large base of iPod Touch owners who will see the car kit as a pretty good investment.
Check out TomTom's promotional video, which outlines the kit's feature set.