TomTom EASE - small package, small pricetag GPS to hit US stores
By Paul Ridden
January 7, 2010
TomTom's EASE is the latest addition to its satellite navigation family and brings all the functionality, ease of use and practicality of its siblings at a fraction of the cost. Launched at CES in Las Vegas this week, the EASE blends a simple two icon interface menu, an integrated fold-away mount and the company's proprietary Map Share and IQ Routes - all for around a hundred US dollars.
Gone are the days when you forget to take along the satellite mount because with EASE, it's part of the device. When not in use the EasyPort mount folds flat against the back but doesn't add significantly to the device's bulk. TomTom says that drivers "can easily fit the entire device and attached mount into a pocket, purse or small glove compartment" as it only notches up 3.6 by 3.4 by 1.2 inch dimensions and weighs in at just over 6 ounces.
The US edition of EASE will be available in early 2010 and will contain maps from Tele Atlas showing more than six and a half million miles of roadways in the US and more than three million points of interest. The US and Canada maps are pre-loaded directly onto the unit's 2Gb internal flash memory (no SD slot) which offers the advantage that EASE is ready to go right out of the box.
Information on whether this means that existing data will need to be overwritten, added to or otherwise loaded onto the device when the need for information about other countries arises or whether a user would be expected to fork out for an additional, country-specific EASE was not available at the time of writing.
EASE sports a 3.5 inch QVGA touchscreen which displays 3D mapping at 320 x 320 pixels and supports 64,000 colors. As well as synching with TomTom's HOME software, it also benefits from Map Share. This gives users the power to instantly correct mapping errors, street names and turn restrictions and, being able to share the information with other TomTom device users, benefit from changes made by others (subject to verification by TomTom of course).
IQ Routes, a smart journey planner that uses a database of over 1.3 trillion worldwide speed measurements to calculate the quickest route for a journey, speech-to-text and a Help Me! emergency service information provider also feature.
TomTom's president Jocelyn Vigreux said: "It's an obvious choice for drivers who want an affordable, easy to use portable navigation device with the most innovative map and routing technologies available." Available in either black or white it should hit major US retailers sometime in early 2010 and will cost around US$100.