TomTom Embraced Openness Once, Is It Time to Again?

Strategy Analytics Roger Lanctot talks a little about the declining PND market and how companies like TomTom and Garmin might turn things around by considering an open platform.

It’s hard to overstate the power of the kind of customer connection TomTom achieved with the TomTom Live service.

TomTom was first in developing a connected user community willing to correct map data and POIs and share favorite routes and voices. These users also demonstrated that there was a market for content that could be downloaded to TomTom devices. Sound familiar? This is exactly the model adopted by most major handset makers in the past year following the wildly successful Apple iPhone.

This is a great point and highlights the value of what the smartphone app marketplace has achieved in recent years.  I’ve discussed how important the acceptance of applications will be to the future of telematics and to Roger’s point it will be just as important for the PND suppliers if they intend to continue selling hardware on top of licensing their existing software.

TomTom has already announced partnerships with Renault and Fiat to include some of their features in embedded OEM systems, but with powerful smartphones with built in connectivity it’s going to be difficult for PND manufacturers to grow the hardware side of the business in the long run.  It’s unlikely that the PND will return to the lofty levels of past years (when it was bridging the gap until smartphones hit their stride), but between potentially adopting open platforms and licensing software these companies should still have very viable futures.  It will be interesting to see how they adapt to the changing marketplace.

via [@rogermud] via [Strategy Analytics]

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