Thursday, 1 July 2010

It's official: TomTom - Third party POI Alerts R Not Us

Well, here's a great big honking surprise. Not.

Having just read the article over at Pocket GPS World (click for article in a new window), I can't really say I'm too surprised. It's about TomTom, after all.

TomTom's ability to accept 3rd party POI lists that you could tailor an alert to, was a major selling point - indeed, it was why the first satnav package that I ever bought for my smartphone a few years back was made by TomTom.

Then their customer services went over a cliff, plunging groundwards as if propelled by rockets.

First, they failed to reply to enquiries; then, they failed to update mapping - even if a fee was required. Then they failed - nay, refused - to update the software, with the "read between the lines" comments being that software piracy was obviously to blame for a loss of sales - what utter and complete rot. It was their failure to maintain and update the software for smartphones that was the cause of the loss of sales: Common sense would have told them that, had they paid attention.

Then, when a major manufacturer (HTC) released a brand new smartphone, they up and generated a bundled version for the German Market release of that phone only, tied to one network.

The release was then widened to a couple more models of phone (still a bundled release), and eventually,and grudgingly, released to retail: It was still a generation behind their stand alone Personal Navigation Device (PND) releases, however.

Now, yet again, TomTom's institutional arrogance seems to have no limits. Having captured a significant proportion of the market with their support for 3rd party POI warning-capable lists with easily adjustable warning features (distance to warning, sound used, and so on) - NOT just speed cameras, but such things as supermarket, petrol stations, banks, Cash machines, and Post Office locations, which many folks find exceedingly useful on a daily basis, TomTom have apparently decided that we cannot be trusted to use such a feature responsibly. They said:

TomTom has stopped supporting 3rd party POI proximity warning sounds in speed camera products

For a DUTCH company to make a read-between-the-lines comment like this is gob-smackingly astounding - The Netherlands are supposed to be a haven for liberal views and thinking. Not for TomTom any more, it seems. Well, OK, they have a right to form their own opinions: It's a relatively free world, after all.

But for TomTom to have the arrogance of then removing a previously free feature that helped to sell their products, by a read-between-the-lines comment that we cannot be trusted to use this feature responsibly, is totally unacceptable. The era of Nanny-Life-Management is over, TomTom. Wake up: We're adults, not children.

It's more likely, frankly, that in developing new versions of the package, they want to simplify the software, thus reducing the development costs. I can follow that line of thinking a damn sight more understandably. We're in the midst of a depression, after all.

In short though, it's yet another damn good reason to tell TomTom go take a long hike off a short pier.

I'm sure their own POI lists will warn them in time that they're going to have to brake hard to avoid going off the pier, after all...

No comments: