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Mike Dobson of TeleMapics on Local Search and All Things Geospatial

TomTom’s Primer on How to Update an Application for a PND

April 17th, 2008 by MDob

So, the other day I connected my TomTom 920 to its cradle hoping to “synch” it with the Mother Ship. Unfortunately, the Mother Ship wanted to download a new version of the TomTom application software. I was rather amused when I agreed to download the update and the following screen popped up

Updating a TomTom 920

See this PDF showing a large sized version of the figure above.

How about that? I was being asked to remove items that are currently installed on my TomTom 920. Since there is nothing on my device other than the programs and data that TomTom provisioned the device with, I thought this might be interesting. Notice that at right bottom of the page, there is an indication that the free space on my device was 13.6 MB. (Since the system and data are internal the 920 does not require the use of a memory card).

The warning suggests that I need to remove 10.8MB of “items for my TomTom device”. I suppose that meant that the application needed at least another 24.4 MB to load and that the 13.6MB of memory shown as being free was already being claimed for the install footprint. Most users, however, would have been confused – after all, since the device had more than enough free space (more than 10.8mb, at least), why would you need to delete anything?

Well, what to remove? TomTom provided no instructions. Indeed, the sum of the instructions are shown in the illustration above.

Since the application was not in the list of “removables”, I assumed that the new version was an update and not a replacement. That’s a shame, as deleting the application is often the easiest way to free up space on devices requiring an update. What’s the poor user to do?

Suppose you were a non-techno user, what would you choose? How about deleting those “Zip codes” since they are exactly 10.8MB? Maybe “Points of Interest” and a few other files?

I think it is amazing that TomTom would consider letting the user delete their “Maps, Points of Interest and Zip Codes”. Yes, they could be solutions to the space problem, but not ones, I think, that anybody should choose, although TomTom appears ambivalent about the potential choice.

Of course, you can expand the each of the categories and have even more choices to muddle through. I am not sure, however, that would be in anybody’s best interests, so let’s take another route.

I decided that I would be a “normal” user (at least as normal as I ever get). I called TomTom Customer Service.

Of course, you cannot find the number for TomTom customer service in the booklet that comes with the 920. Instead, if you have really sharp eyes, you can find it on the separate card relating to “FCC Regulations”. I suppose most of you have given up reading about how your numerous devices comply with FCC regulations! Well, that’s where I found a telephone number for TomTom U.S. under the section of the form that read “Responsible Party in North America”.

Service was quick. No long phone queue awaited. However, the surly CSR who greeted me told me that the solution to my problem was to “…delete the application.” I explained to her that the application was not on the list of items that could be deleted for this install, but I could tell she did not believe me. Finally, after reiterating and rephrasing the lack of a “delete application” option, I seem to have won her over and she told me that I should expand the voice category and delete one or more of the “voices”, since they were “…just taking up space.”

I thanked her and moved on to selecting voice or voices to delete – after all I needed 13.6MB! To be honest, I did not want to delete any of the voices. Even the ones in foreign languages, since I thought it might be a good way to learn how to give driving instructions to my neighbors in Orange County. However, I finally decided to delete a Spanish language voice category and, when I did so, the install proceeded.

Of course, when I rebooted the device, the voice that I have become quite fond of, an American female voice had mysteriously disappeared and I had to choose a new “persona”. Either I have been living in California so long that I have become bilingual without knowing it, or I have been “dumped” by a PND voice avatar.

Finally, what ever happened to Human Interface Design as a field of study? Oh, I know, everything you need to know is now in the software used to design …display interfaces. Kind of like the knowledge of cartography that is now embedded in Geospatial software – with some of the same kinds of unfathomable results.

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Posted in Personal Navigation, Technology, TomTom


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