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New-TomTom-GO-PND.jpgTomTom has announced  pricing and availability of the all new TomTom GO.

The completely re-designed range of navigation devices feature a brand new Interactive Map, Lifetime TomTom Traffic and 3D Maps.

The TomTom GO is available in three different screen sizes - drivers can choose between a 4.3", a 5" and a 6". The TomTom GO 400, 500 and 600 include the same features; the difference is the size of the screen. The devices will be available in-store and online from this month with prices starting at £159.99 for the GO 400 with maps of 45 European countries.

The GO 500 is priced £189.99 for UK/Republic of Ireland maps and £199.99 for the EU version.

The GO 600 UK is priced £229.99, whilst the GO 600 EU is £239.99.

The TomTom GO Smartphone Connected series is designed to receive TomTom Traffic and other services, for example, TomTom Speed Cameras, by connecting to a smartphone via Bluetooth, using the driver's existing smartphone data plan.

The TomTom GO Always Connected, which offers drivers TomTom Traffic straight out of the box, via in-built SIM card, will be available later in the year.

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TomTom-Go-2013.jpgThough all eyes will be on TomTom's freshly unveiled smartwatches, the company haven't given up on the sat nav market that made their name. Looking to bring the fight to smartphones that are ravaging their market share, TomTom have today revealed the TomTom Go.

It's totally revamped design for the TomTom brand, taking its cues from smartphone touchscreen interfaces, with tap-to-zoom and interactive 3D mapping. Traffic tracking modes will also be available.

Users will also be able to tether the TomTom Go to a smartphone in order to receive traffic updates, or go for an "Always Connected" option. Four map packs can be downloaded each year for free onto the TomTom Go too, which should cover any driving trips abroad.

"Where navigation used to be about getting people to unfamiliar destinations, we are now empowering drivers with easy access to the information they need to make the smartest driving decisions, every day," said Corinne Vigreux, Managing Director of TomTom Consumer.

"We have completely redesigned the PND to become an essential daily driving tool. By providing easy access to our world class TomTom Traffic and enabling drivers to see more than just the road ahead, drivers will feel on top of their journey like never before."

4.5, 5 and 6-inch versions of the TomTom Go will be available from launch, though when exactly that is or how much they will cost has yet to be revealed.

TomTom speed camera app.jpgIf, like me, you've been caught twice doing a few miles over the speed limit in the space of three months (thanks Suffolk Police), you'll be pleased to hear that TomTom has just released an update to its Speed Cameras app for iPhone.

Giving drivers a free 12-month subscription to the Speed Camera service, the app includes several new features including audible and visual speed camera alerts when the app is running in the background or the screen is off. Average speed check support has also been improved, helping drivers to stay below the limit, even when exiting a tunnel.

The Speed Cameras app for iPhone warns drivers of upcoming fixed and mobile cameras, helping them to stay safe and avoid fines. It informs drivers of their speed, the speed limit, the type of camera ahead and the remaining distance to reach it. With the latest version of the app, both new and existing customers will receive 12 months of the Speed Cameras service for free. Existing customers will get an extra, free year of the service when their active subscription expires.

The latest version of the app also gives drivers the option to receive warnings for mobile camera hotspots. The update also allows drivers to stream audio alerts to the TomTom Hands-free car kit, or other A2DP Bluetooth compatible devices, to amplify the sound.

Camera data is collected anonymously from 1.6 million drivers in 15 countries which, Tom Tom claims, gives drivers 95% coverage of fixed camera locations and real-time updates for mobile speed cameras.

Current users of the app with an active subscription can upgrade to version 1.1 via the App Store.

tomtom-android.jpgTomTom have used the IFA 2012 tech show to reveal that their satellite navigation apps are coming to the the Android platform in October.

"TomTom's on-board maps, IQ Routes and HD Traffic will give Android users the freshest map, the fastest routes and the most accurate arrival times. The application is set for release in October 2012," said TomTom in a statement.

"We aim to make TomTom content and services available to as many devices and platforms as we can," added Corinne Vigreux, Managing Director at TomTom.

"Bringing TomTom navigation to Android smartphones is, therefore, a significant milestone for us."

Pricing, availability and compatibility will be announced closer to release. We'll be sure to pass the details on.

Click here for more news straight from the IFA 2012 technology show

mio-spirit-697-lm.jpgMio have a new flagship model at the top of their sat nav range. The Mio Spirit 697 LM offers lifetime map updates among a host of useful features.

Spirit 697 LM owners can receive free map updates four times a year with the device, meaning routes are continually accurate. IQ Routes and LearnMe Pro features will always offer the most intelligent routes for your journey on the device's five-inch screen too, using a combination of routes popular amongst all users and your own preferences to pick the best routes.

3D junction views and lane guidance join pedestrian options for those on foot, while spoken street names keep your eyes on the road with voice guidance features. There's also built-in traffic information as well as a Find My Car feature for helping you hunt down your car when you're not sure where it is.

A hands-free calling mode for Bluetooth enabled mobile devices also helps keep your drive as safe as possible.

Find out more about the Spirit 697 LM by clicking here.

305_UK_MainMenu.jpgThe summer sun is finally out, and if you're looking to make the most of our inevitably brief seasonal respite from the cold, you may well be planning to get on your bike for a leisurely cycle this coming Bank Holiday weekend. Helping you get the most out of your two-wheeled excursions are Mio, who've just launched a new range of Cyclo navigational devices.

Two different models launch, the Cyclo 300 and 305 HC, each offering pre-installed UK regional mapping provided by Open Street Map and TeleAtlas, with the 305 also coming in a configuration that features maps for Western Europe.

Clipping onto a bike's handlebars, the Cyclo's offer turn-by-turn navigation and 3 inch touchscreen controls, good for 12 hours of usage from a single charge. I can barely stay awake for 12 hours, let alone cycle for that long.

Water resistant, both models have a feature called "Surprise Me" which offers three unique cycling routes based upon parameters that you specify, with cycling specific points of interest included on the way.

If you pick up the slightly fancier 305 HC edition, you can add an ANT+ sensor, a heart rate monitor, cadence monitor and wheel sensor to the list of specs, all useful when paired with the device's fitness-focussed programs.

Iwan van Hende, Product Director Outdoor & Fitness for Mio, said: "The launch of the Mio Cyclo range arrives at an exciting time for cyclists in Britain. With cities and the countryside becoming ever more bicycle friendly, we're delighted to be launching a product that helps both recreational and sportive riders take advantage of the growing cycling opportunity in the UK."

Pricing for the range kicks off with the Mio Cyclo 300 with Regional Maps at £259.99, followed by the Mio Cyclo 305 HC with Regional Maps at £309.99 and the premium Mio Cyclo 305 HC with Western-Europe Maps setting you back £349.99.

For more info, click here.

Motti Kushnir, Telmap CMO1.jpg
With print media slowly dying, so too is the effectiveness of print advertising space. Increasingly, advertisers are turning to the digital domain to tout their wares. Sitting at the forefront of this wave are Telmap, whose location-based advertising systems are able to pinpoint potential customers and drive engagement not only through pushing adverts tailored to a person's taste, but by taken into account who close a potential customer is to a point of purchase.

We caught up with Telmap's Chief Marketing Officer, Motti Kushnir, to discuss his company's plans for the future.

Q: How has being bought by Intel affected things at Telmap? What benefits/drawbacks come from being part of such a gigantic global brand?

A: As the deal just closed on November 30th, it's too early to really talk about its impact on Telmap. There are many benefits for both sides really. Intel sees mobility as one of its growth engines and plays a leading role across the mobility ecosystem, including consumer services. Location is a key pillar in mobility and Telmap is a market leader in the mobile location industry bringing with it some key assets.

Telmap has developed over the years a cutting edge technology and IP portfolio around
mapping, local search, and navigation. As a result, around 7 million end users are engaging with the Telmap location companion worldwide on a daily basis. Telmap also leads strategic relationships with tier-1 operators worldwide, powering their location services, and is working closely with leading content publishers from around the world whose brands Telmap integrated into the location companion for a richer, ultra-local more familiar user experience. In addition, Telmap's location platform tools and APIs allow the developers' community to enrich their applications with location and content capabilities.

Telmap will of course benefit from the scale and exposure enabled by being part of a global operation such as Intel, so the combination of Telmap's assets together with Intel's leadership, technology and global reach, is expected to result in a powerful joint offering for valuable and relevant mobile internet services, bringing Telmap services to tens of millions of users around the world.

Q: Tell us a little bit about Telmap's plans for location-based advertising in 2012.

A: There is the "old-school", traditional view of location-based advertising that talks about banners, sponsored search results, branded POIs on map, etc. But Telmap believes that the real opportunity for 2012 is around coupons and vouchers, a field that's growing tremendously, as well as commission-based services such as bookings and reservations. These two very prominent fields are where Telmap is going to focus its location-based advertising efforts in 2012.

Q: Who are Telmap working with to push location-based advertising campaigns?

A: Telmap has identified quite a lot of local advertising partners in its key markets. This is a continuous process, so we expect to bring more advertising partners on board during Q1 and Q2 of 2012. A partial list of the partners we are already working with includes: Advantago, KaufDA, Coupies, MyMobai, GeoAd, xAD, Yell Spain, and more.

Q: Please explain your licensing terms. What are the benefits of being a Telmap affiliate?

A: Telmap affiliates enjoy access to our distribution platform, to the mechanism of billing
through the operator as well as enhanced brand recognition. In terms of licensing, we engage in a revenue share model, splitting revenues between Telmap, the operator and the affiliate.

Q: What are the key factors in encouraging engagement from the end user with location-
based adverts?

A: Telmap believes there are three key factors that will ensure active engagement of users with location-based adverts and offers. First, the offer really has to be relevant to the actual, real-time location of the user at the time the offer is served. We will not, for example, divert users more than 800 meters when they are in the car and 300 meters when they are on foot, in order to follow an advert/offer, as our studies show that beyond these distances, people don't value the offer as a relevant one, to their current location. Next, it has to be in the right context, to prove relevant to the user. For example, if we offer a coupon to the zoo on a Monday morning, when someone is on its way to the office, the offer will deem itself as completely irrelevant, as the user is not in leisure-time mindset. Serve the same coupon on a Saturday morning, and the user receptiveness would be a lot higher, as it's the weekend and his/her current mindset matches such an offer. Lastly, the advert has to carry a real benefit for the user, for example 10% off, 1+1 offer or any other benefit that will entice the user. The advert should not be just a general awareness-generating advert as that's not as effective when it comes to location-based advertising. We at Telmap, make sure that every advert or offer served to our users indeed follows these three rules.

Q: If location-based advertising in your navigation apps is more attention-grabbing than
traditional advertising methods, do issues of on-the-road safety then become a concern?
Should this influence advert placement and design?

A: Telmap makes sure, in addition to following the three rules described above, that adverts are being served as an integral part of the application's regular flow, to minimize user's distraction. For example, we don't currently serve adverts during in-car navigation sessions, as we are still working on the best way to do that without being intrusive and distracting to the driver. We are considering voice-based adverts, and other ways of doing this, as it is clear to us that road safety should come first, above all.

Q: How about the adoption of NFC tech? Will contactless payment points have an influence on location based advertising?

A: NFC is a new method of payment, in addition to the already established credit cards, pay-pal, mobile bill, app-store and in-app payment methods. The advantage of NFC for us is that it can be used as another method of locating the user, indoors this time. For example, if a user just paid via NFC technology in a mall, we have knowledge on his/her in-door whereabouts at that moment in time, which can help us serve him with even more targeted offers.

Q: How sure are you of people's receptiveness to location based advertising? It's fair to say that some people feel advertising is already quite pushy; will people really want it following them and around on their smartphones in their pockets?

A: Telmap believes that the secret lies within the how and when the advert is being served. We see from both trials, consumer research, and results from the field, that as long as we adhere to the three rules mentioned above, and ensure that the ad serving is done as an integral part of the flow, people will see this as valuable service, that they are even willing to pay for, and don't really feel interrupted. Some examples include a Telmap implementation in cooperation with 'REST', Israel's leading restaurant guide, launching location-aware restaurant coupons, where 29% of users who accessed the app's widgets carousel, used it to access 'REST' coupons, with more than 10% coupons conversion rate.

Q: How about issues of privacy? What information do Telmap and your partners keep from those who interact with their location based adverts?

A: Telmap doesn't save any user information. We send the network information about the
user's location, and contextual information such as the key word request made, the context of the request (drive, walk, etc.), but all these data points are made anonymous, transferred under an anonymous, random identifier between Telmap and the ad server. Once the ad serving is done nothing is kept, so really there are not privacy issues here.

Q: Will Telmap be looking to expand their Augmented Reality offerings in the future? It was a term on the tip of the tech-world's tongue late last year but seems to have fell out of vogue now. Does the future really still have Minority Report-style interactive, aware adverts on the way?

A: Like any new technology, there was a big hype around Augmented Reality (AR). It quieted down a bit, and if it will prove valuable to the user, it will go through a maturing phase and will stick around. Telmap believes this will happen with AR and we are working on integrating AR into our application. We don't believe it carries a lot of value during in-car navigation, but rather during pedestrian navigation and wandering and exploration mode, especially in urban environments. Users can use it to better understand which stores reside in a certain building, before entering the building itself, what attractions are available around them, businesses open hours, sales that are going on, etc. We definitely believe it can bring lot of added value to end users.

stephen-fry-car.jpgTech fan Stephen Fry has become the latest celebrity to lend his voice to TomTom's range of sat navs.

For £7.95 drivers can have the Black Adder star direct them down the nation's motorways, downloading to several compatible navigation systems.

Fry joins a varied list of celebrities and characters that include Jeremy Clarkson, Brian Blessed, Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, and C3PO. You have to wonder who in their right mind would opt out of that ecclectic bunch to go for Clarkson though. I'd rather drive a Vauxhall Vectra to Dundee in my bare feet than have to spend a day on the M6 with the Top Gear twerp.

To download the Stephen Fry TomTom voice pack, head over to The page also offers a range of samples to try Fry's voice out before buying.

Review: TomTom GO LIVE 1000 £199


TomTom Go Live front on.jpg
If you do a lot of driving like I do then you need a decent sat nav that will not only get you from A to B, but will make sure that you get to B before A has even realised you've left.

The TomTom Go LIVE 1000 is just such a device. Although it's been available since the end of last year, prices have now dropped to around the £200 mark on Amazon, making it one of the most affordable decent sat navs around with built in traffic information.

I've been testing it constantly for the past few months (hence the tardiness of my review) and it's saved my proverbial bacon on more than one occasion - most notably when large parts of the M1 were closed due to someone starting a fire under the bridge in North London. On that occasion it re-routed me off the motorway onto the A1 and then back onto the M1 further north, saving me having to set up camp on a piece of tarmac in Barnet.

TomTom GO LIVE 1000 Screenshot LIVE snapshot.jpg

Tom Tom Live

Key to the device's success is the integration of TomTom Live. A suite of services, it's free for the first year, thereafter it will set you back £47.50 per year (a fairly hefty amount, but crucial if your work or play depends on you being on time).

With TomTom Live you get the latest Speed Camera locations (very useful when it comes to saving you money), but crucially you also get HD Traffic which feeds live traffic information to the device and re-routes you if necessary, making sure you are on the quickest route. The reassuring voice even tells you: "You are now on the fastest route."

Upcoming road works are shown in a bar graph on the side panel which takes a little getting used to, but basically tells you how long it is until you reach a standstill and how long you are going to be stuck there (sometimes roadworks are simply unavoidable). It's a really useful feature especially when half the pain of travelling in the car is the not knowing whether you are going to be in traffic for five minutes or five hours.

Local search

Other features included with TomTom Live are Local Search with Google to help pinpoint shops and businesses in a given area and TomTom Weather with five day weather forecasts - though to be honest I've never had to rely on either.

All you need to know with the British weather is that if you are driving for more than an hour it's probably going to rain, the traffic is going to slow down to a crawl and someone driving a BMW far too fast will spin off the road taking an old lady in a Ford Focus out in the process.

As for the Local Search, the only thing I've ever really wanted to know is how far it is to the nearest petrol station (I think every sat nav should have this feature as standard).

Magnetic mount

Visually there's nothing too exciting about the TomTom GO LIVE 1000. It's black, it has a decent 4.3inch screen and has a USB socket which fits into a cigarette lighter adaptor. Unlike some sat navs, the mount is also quite straightforward to use. It's magnetic and comes with a screw suction mount so you can tighten it up on the windscreen without having to lick it like a giant stamp.

The only annoying thing was that because I'm one of these people who likes to carry the sat nav around rather than leave it in the car to be robbed out of the glove box, I managed to drop the cigarette adaptor on the end of the USB cable and lose it (this wouldn't have happened if it was all one piece).

As we have come to expect from all TomTom devices, the maps look great day or night (the night mode automatically kicks in and shows the maps in various shades of blue when it's dark). And, while the basic GO LIVE 1000 comes only with maps for the UK and Ireland, you can upgrade to the version with European maps for an additional £50.

TomTom GO LIVE 1000 mount-480.jpg

Virtually all the information you need when driving is displayed as standard on the screen, but strangely if you want to see how far it is to your destination in terms of distance, not time, you need to go into a fairly obscure 'Status Bar Settings' sub-menu and tick the 'remaining distance' option.

Zoom in

One interesting on board feature is the capacitive Fluid Touch screen which sounds a bit jargony but basically lets you pinch to zoom in and out of maps (like using Google Maps on your iPhone). Great in theory, but don't try using while you are driving without risking losing your place or, worse, going into the car in front of you!

Another small-ish complaint is that it's not always easy typing a postcode into the virtual keyboard - maybe my fingers are too fat, but I've yet to find a sat nav that makes this basic process easy. Instead I always end up having to get the wife to type in the postcode of where we are going.

All in all, though, the GO LIVE 1000 is highly recommended. The Live features are particularly handy for saving time on your journeys by rerouting you down quieter roads if neccessary and the maps are both clear and easy to use.

Tom Tom Go Live 1000 £200 approx

4.3inch Fluid Touch Screen (11 cm) - pinch to zoom in and out of maps
Free HD Traffic for a year
Local Search with Google
Easy click Magnetic Mount
TomTom Weather - five-day forecasts courtesy of TomTom Weather.
Tom Tom Live includes Speed Cameras, providing mobile and fixed speed camera alerts
USB home charging cable

Live traffic information - including re-routing to avoid jams
Clear maps on 4.3inch screen
Speed camera data
Sturdy magnetic mount

Virtual keyboard quite small for typing in postcodes/addresses
Difficult to find remaining distance menu

TomTom GO LIVE 1000

magellan-710.jpgMagellan have marked their return to UK stores by launching the new eXplorist GPS range, looking to earn a place in every outdoor adventurer's rucksack.

Four new models have been revealed, with the entry-level model being the eXplorist GC. A dedicated geo-caching device, it has a 2.2 inch colour display, pre-loaded worldwide mapping, with new geocaches available through Magellan VantagePoint software.

Next up are the eXplorist 510, 610 and 710 models. With all the features of the GC model, they improve open the entry-level version in a number of ways, including a 3 inch touchscreen, as well as packing a camera, speaker and microphone for taking audio notes and geotagging photos.

On top of that, the 610 and 710 models add advanced navigations tools such as a 3-axis electronic compass, barometric altimeter and a Summit Series Topographical map, while the top-of-the-range 710 model also features turn-by-turn street directions from Navteq.

Pricing starts at £179.99 for the eXplorist GC, the 510, 610 and 710 are £299.99, £399.99 and £499.99 respectively.

Magellan are also launching a premium iPhone 3G and iPod Touch case called the ToughCase. Waterproof for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 metre, it features a built-in high sensitivity SiRFstar III GPS chipset to enhance the accuracy of location-based and GPS applications, as well as doubling battery life with an integrated 1840 mAh battery. It costs £179.99.

MIO launch new Spirit Sat Nav range

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UK_S685-S687_Front_ChoicsOfRoutes.jpgMIO have launched their new Spirit Sat Nav range this week, comprised of four new models. The Spirit 480, 485, 685 and 687 are all out now, available from Tesco, Argos and direct from MIO.

The range is split down the middle when it comes to size, with the more compact 480 and 485 models measuring up at 4.3 inches, while the 685 and 687 sat navs are 5 inches across. Many features carry across all models however, including Parking Assistance (showing all nearby parking spaces within a 1km radius and subscription-free traffic information.

The 685 and 687 do get a few premium features however not found on the other two devices. Firstly is the brand new Choice of Routes option, throwing up for different routes before you head out on your journey, mapped based upon the length of time it takes to reach your destination, the shortest route, the easiest route and the most economical. Secondly is the Trip Planner interface, letting drivers place multiple waypoints into suggested routes.

Voice entry and Bluetooth hands free call answering is also available in the 687 model.

In terms of cost, you're looking at £79.99 for the 480, £89.99 for the 485, £99.99 for the 685 and £149.99 for the 687.

For more information, click here.

REVIEW: Telmap 5 sat nav app for Android

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review-line.JPGName: Telmap 5

Type: Android sat-nav app

Website: www.telmap.comreview-line.JPG

The advent of the smartphone has been heralded by many as ringing the death knell for the dedicated sat nav, as app makers increasingly build affordable software alternatives to costly mapping hardware. Telmap 5 looks to leverage the advantages of smartphones, offering on-the-go downloads of routes, rather than pre-installed maps.

This on-demand mapping system has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, you don't clog your handset up with loads of unnecessary data, instead only pulling up the maps and areas that you need. You also get the most up-to-date route information instantly, rather than having to constantly update otherwise static route information. However, despite Telmap's decent attempts at compressing maps for quick access, you've still got a few minutes wait until your route is downloaded and ready. It's worth noting also that unless you have a generous fixed data tariff, changing destinations away from a Wi-Fi connection is going to cost you.

Telmap's turn-by-turn route choice (complete with voice guidance) is fairly comprehensive however. Despite downloading each route map individually, Telmap 5 intelligently takes into account every possible deviation you may take from the primary route given, and quickly adjusts direction accordingly, a smart move considering you otherwise face a map download at every deviating turn. The constantly updated maps also mean that traffic, speed cameras and roadworks are always taken into account with each journey. A solid pedestrian service is also included in the app, which takes into account shortcuts across parks, pedestrian bridges and other such routes otherwise inaccessible on four wheels.

myplaces_web view.jpg

Telmap 5 can also be used in tandem with the Web Companion, a web-based app that allows you the comfort of a PC and large screen to plan and sync routes with your mobile online, making notes of favourite locations and sharing them with pals before heading out onto the road. It's a smart feature, and one definitely worth putting the time in with should you be planning a complicated trip.

The interface for Telmap 5 is relatively intuitive on Android; map, search and favourite/recent places buttons sit at the top of the screen, a GPS location finder to the right, while the map and zoom controls take up the majority of the rest of the screen real estate. Directions can be either set to fill a small area towards the top of the screen, or to take up the entire screen, removing the map altogether. A scrolling carousel of widgets pops out from the bottom right of the screen, which then can be set to provide information on traffic, route info, nearby points of interest, weather, tweets and emergency services.

However, we found that on our test handset, a HTC Hero, some elements of the interface were a little too small to comfortably select, particularly annoying when you're trying to keep your focus on the road rather than frustratingly missing the button you're aiming for. Also, unless you're on a particularly high-end device, the interface can be a little sticky and not quite as slick as a dedicated device.


Telmap 5 stakes a good claim as an alternative to a single-purpose sat-nav, what with its social network savvy route sharing, intelligent, adaptive journey directions and constantly updated optimal routes. However a 3G connection is still not quite up to the task of providing these maps instantly; you wouldn't want to be a bank-job getaway driver relying on Telmap 5 to get you out of a tight spot in a hurry, nor is its fiddly buttons particularly helpful for the chubby fingered amongst us. Not a bad attempt by all means, but still not quite good enough to get us to abandon our TomTom.





Everything from computer synchronisation to ship navigation is being linked to GPS signals, and we may be becoming too reliant on these systems. This is the warning from the Royal Academy of Engineering, which has issued a report warning that the system is more vulnerable than we think.

"There is a growing interdependence between systems that people think are backing each other up. And it might well be that if a number these systems fail simultaneously, it will cause commercial damage or just conceivably loss of life. This is wholly avoidable," researcher Dr Martyn Thomas told BBC News.

The report says the weakness of sat-nav signals leaves them open to interference, either from sabotage or from natural phenomena such as solar flares. The signals are equivalent to receiving the light from a bright bulb at a distance of 20,000km.

GPS is becoming very useful at finding our way through unknown city streets, but the worst thing that would happen if we were cut off would be getting a bit lost. But when financial systems and emergency services depend on the same technology, the consequences are more dire.

Said Dr Thomas: "The back-up systems are often inadequate or un-tested; that the jammers are far too easily available and that the risks from them are increasing," adding that "no one has a full picture of the dependencies on GPS and similar systems". The report makes a number of recommendations for actions to take to avoid these problems, but Thomas emphasises the risks could be mitigated if the government and industry co-operated more closely.

Ford Focus football At the weekend those nice folk at Ford took us out to Madrid to race cars around a test track and look over their new Ford Focus. So what I hear you say has a new car to do with tech?

Actually quite a bit as it turns out. We've already written about the new in car tech that the Focus has including bluetooth connectivity, wi-fi and a voice activated Satellite Navigation system (just talk to it and it will give you directions - a bit like KITT, the car in the 80s TV series, Knight Rider).

But this time there was an opportunity to test the gear inside for ourselves as well as thrash the hell out of the car and, er, play football with it, as you do. See picture above . One thing we also got to test was a new feature called Park Assist which was good fun.

This actually takes the hard work out of reversing into a parking space. All you do is go along a line of cars with your indicator on and the car will find a space that's big enough to get into. Then you press a button and put the car into reverse and it will steer the wheel into the space for you.

It's good but not foolproof. You do need to make sure you are close enough to the parked cars for it to recognise a space and you also need to brake once the proximity sensors beep. Which is what one of the guests forgot to do and ended up crashing into the car behind him. Whoops!

You can see the video of me not crashing the car but still looking pensive - below.

Thanks to Ford and Jochen Siegle from German tech site Tech Fieber for putting up with my lunatic driving

Mio launch Spirit V575 Sat-Nav / TV combo

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mio-spirit-sat-nav.JPGLong car journeys are always fraught with two potentially day-ruining possibilities; getting lost on some backwater-sidestreet miles away from civilisation and the mind-numbing, deep-vein thrombosis inducing boredom of being crammed for hours into a back seat. Mio are looking to kill two birds with one stone with thier latest bit of in-car tech, the Spirit V575 Sat-Nav and TV combo.

The Spirit V575 comes equipped with IQ Routes technology, a navigation and mapping service that keeps you abreast of any road closures or congestion issues while driving. The touchscreen device can also be used as a digital TV tuner, with a seven day EPG that will let you access hundreds of channels across Europe, as well as having a built in multimedia player for watching movies or playing back music.

While the screen's 480 x 272 resolution hardly puts it at "Pimp My Ride" standards, there's no knocking the obvious benefits of having both a sat-nav and portable telly in one unit for long car journeys.

Click here for more info.

While CES is primarily a platform for companies to tout their latest and greatest wares for the coming year, the show often throws up a little concept gem that has the potential to truly revolutionise our day to day lives.

Once such device we saw on the show floor at CES 2011 was the Pioneer Network Vision HUD. It's a small RGB laser projection kit that would sit on your dashboard, sync up with your smartphone and project navigation information, caller ID and social network details directly onto the inside of your car windshield.

In terms of navigation hardware, it'd make the TomTom look as dated as an A-Z.

Hit the video above to check it out.

kogan-thumb.jpgNew-kids-on-the--consumer-electronics-block Kogan are preparing to set up shop in the UK, and are looking to take on the extortionate prices of "rip-off Britian" head on.

The company have been doing roaring trade over in Australia, offering prices 20% to 50% lower than the competition by being both manufacturers and retailers.

"UK consumers have been paying rip-off prices for everyday electronic goods and that should not be happening. We are here to shake up the market and transform the face of consumer electronics so customers get a fair deal" said Ruslan Kogan, CEO.

"UK High Street retailers all have a web presence, which is commendable. But why are they charging the same prices online as in store? Is it fair that an online customer should be helping pay for the rent, overheads and other inefficiencies associated with selling through a shop? Selling online is all about efficiency that benefits the customer - the current situation has to change. Kogan is built on the belief that 'there is always a better way'".

Kogan are starting their UK invasion with their own branded range of HD TVs and GPS devices. Take a look at what they have on offer by clicking here.

Skobbler android.jpgIt's already proved a massive success on the iPhone, with 82,000 downloads to its name and now Skobbler, the free open-source sat nav app, is rolling out to Android phones too.

Skobbler is unique in that it is user driven. Using the OpenStreetMap (OSM) open-source mapping wiki, the Skobbler community paired with the 250,000 OSM users team up to keep maps updated and relevant. Everyone reaps the benefits of regularly refreshed maps, and no-one pays a penny for the pleasure.

"Developing skobbler for the Android platform was the next logical step for the company," says Marcus Thielking, co-founder of skobbler. "Our goal is to show that the revolutionary OpenStreetMap (OSM) concept can already support great location-based services, even in the most complex category which is definitely car navigation.

"Developing our unique OSM-based apps for the most popular mobile platforms has always been part of our ongoing strategy. We are looking forward to the feedback of our Android customers and hope that they will embrace the idea of a nationwide (if not worldwide) collaborative mapping project just as much as iPhone users have done already. We look forward to seeing what we call, 'the future of sat nav' become a reality, making expensive GPS hardware and slow, costly map updates a thing of the past."

Skobbler's key features include

·         Turn-by-turn GPS navigation
·         Visual and voice-guided navigation
·         2.5D bird's eye view graphics
·         Day and night display modes
·         Automatic continuation of navigation after incoming calls
·         Pedestrian mode
·         Take me home function
·         Dynamic map updates at no extra cost
·         User-editable maps of UK and Ireland (OpenStreetMap data)
·         Bookmarks for favourite destinations

For more info, head over to the Skobbler blog.

Skobbler.jpgskobbler, a new free iPhone sat nav app from a Berlin start-up company, could be set to change the sat nav industry industry drastically by using free mapping solutions to keep costs down for customers.

Community driven, skobbler uses OpenStreetMap (OSM), which has a dedicated Wikipedia-style team of 250,000 updating its map database at all times. As a result, skobbler mapping data is kept constantly up to date, at no extra cost to the user.

skobbler also features both visual and voice-guided navigation options, pedestrian modes, boomarks and music playback from within the app.

"skobbler is the first truly usable voice-guided sat nav solution to use free map data that can be edited," says Marcus Thielking, co-founder of skobbler. "All those who have edited the map have experienced a real sense of achievement. Everybody can make sure that their respective neighbourhood has the best map coverage.

"Editing the OpenStreetMap is already an ongoing project for many, which in turn ensures that the accuracy and usefulness of the data will continue to rapidly increase. We understand that Rome wasn't built in a day, yet we hope that new adopters will see the value of contributing to a free map of the world and thereby helping this concept evolve to become a genuine alternative to costly and slow updating sat navs. We will do our part and keep on constantly updating the skobbler app."

Definitely an exciting alternative to the likes of TomTom, give skobbler a try here.

TomTom Go Live 1000 launched

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TomTom Go Live 1000.jpgTomTom has launched its latest flagship GPS system, the TomTom Go Live 1000. With a design more in line with a smartphone than an in-car sat-nav, it's a bold move by the company currently battling the influx of mobile applications muscling in on their turf.

The TomTom Go Live 1000 features a capacitive touchscreen, an ARM 11 500Mhz processor, 128 MB RAM, Broadcom GPS, 4GB of storage, and enough battery power for 3 hours of continual use from a single charge.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes introduced in this model is how customisable it is. Based on the webkit platform, users will be able to add features as they see fit from third party developers. There's plenty of potential here - imagine add-ons for the best ways to avoid the traffic queues into music festival sites or football grounds, or adjustable menus tailored to different TomTom users needs.

There is also a greater focus on localisation features, meaning the content most relevant to you is given priority.

The windshield clip also gets a once-over. The unit is now held in place by a strong magnet. Handy for removing it quickly when in a hurry, but I have visions of it flying off and whacking you in the face if your car is involved in an accident.

The model will ship with 12 months worth of LIVE services, which includes IQ routes and TomTom HD Traffic real time jam updates.

Set to be available in 33 countries, no pricing details have been announced yet.

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