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TomTom goes free on Android (for 50 miles, at least)

TomTom Go brings freemium model to satnav, offering a limited number of free directions

TomTom has released a “free” version of its turn-by-turn satnav for Android – but it won’t get you much further than London to Brighton without demanding cash for directions. The new TomTom Go app offers drivers 50 miles of free navigation per month, before they’re asked to cough up £14.99 for a year’s subscription. 

TomTom Go replaces the company’s previous paid-for Android app and reflects the difficulty of getting customers to pay for turn-by-turn satnav when apps such as Google Maps and (the Google-owned) Waze offer it for free. TomTom has, however, accrued a strong reputation for the accuracy of its maps, directions and live traffic updates, which might tempt customers to upgrade after the free trial expires. Owners of the previous TomTom app for Android are able to “upgrade” to TomTom Go for three years for only 50p.

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TomTom also offers one other big advantage over Google’s apps – it allows customers to download continent- or country-wide maps to their phone, making offline navigation much easier. The UK & Ireland maps take around 900MB of storage space on a handset. It also offers speed camera alerts, a feature that’s not available in Google Maps, but is crowd-sourced data that’s displayed on Waze maps. 

Other features include the ability to navigate to addresses already stored in the phone’s contacts, and directions to the nearest petrol station and other searchable places of interest. Drivers are warned of how many free miles they have left with a little counter at the foot of the screen. 

The Android app sports the same interface as the standalone TomTom Go devices, which start from around £100, and also include lifetime traffic and map updates (when connected to a mobile phone). 


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