TomTom plans Android navigation for October

The software will compete with an increaing number of Android navigation apps

TomTom plans to launch a navigation app for Android smartphones in October, the company said Wednesday at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

The app will put the Dutch company into direct competition for the first time with Google Navigation and others that have been making inroads into the portable navigation market with Android smartphone apps.

Unlike Google's software, the TomTom app won't be free but the company hopes it will be able to attract customers with features like offline maps. (See a video demo of the new app on YouTube.)

"There is no need for connectivity to do routing," said Gerry Hinds, vice president of mobile at TomTom.

Google Navigation and many other smartphone-based systems pull maps from the Internet as required. That means potentially high data charges when roaming overseas and the loss of service in areas where there is no or poor cellular reception.

An Internet connection is required for two live services the app will offer: real-time traffic data and the location of police speed traps.

When the app comes out in October, there will be 24 regional versions, said Hinds. They will include versions for all European countries, North America, some South American countries and selected markets in the Asia Pacific, including Australia.

Pricing has yet to be announced. The purchase will include lifetime mapping updates.

TomTom already offers a navigation app for the iPhone and iPad.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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