TomTom Bridges gap between Work and Play
TomTom have launched the new ruggedised Bridge and they asked The Techie Guy to have a little test drive before the South African launch. The unit is named Bridge which sounded interesting and we soon realised that “bridge” is the perfect name for a device that bridges the gap between a traditional GPS-Navigation device and work. TomTom clearly recognises that the mobile work force is just that – mobile. Therefore why separate navigation from connectivity and interactivity? The unit is built on an Android operating system on a 7 inch tablet which therefore allows for developers to add work-related apps onto the unit making it much more functional than a simple Get Me from Point A to Point B device. The unit is meant to be taken out of the vehicle once the destination is reached rather than being left in the car.
Check out how the emergency services and tradesmen use the device:
Clare goes Hands-On with the TomTom Bridge
When I was invited for “training” to TomTom, I became very weary and dreaded a possible test at the end. The great thing though was that the Bridge was seamless, easy to use and so natural, it was like instinct took over. I’m talking about an intuitive user interface here.
Let me just start out by saying this is no ordinary GPS it’s also an android powered tablet, yes an in-car TV. Some will love that and some might not. I fell into the first category. The fact that I stuck a tablet to the very small windscreen of my Suzuki Swift did not phase me at all – I loved being able to see the screen clearly instead of having to squint my eyes every time I needed to take a quick gander.
In my case I used it as a commuter device. Home to work, work to home and any other destination I wanted to visit in between.
Built into it are all the standard personal TomTom navigation device features, with a little extra on the side. Navigation is what its mostly used for but it can be used for other things as well…
The home screen has three pages with navigation view being most important which is a map identifying your position. The home screen includes your simple portable navigation device (PND) stuff – search, drive home, recent destinations, my place and my routes for example. It will help you find parking and of course, the closest petrol station on any route.
This is a feature used predominantly with 4x4s. It’s also used for trucking companies as a way of vetting routes etc. You hit record and it actually records where you were going, the speed you were travelling at and any elevation you might have experienced (4×4 specific – the Suzuki was in no way, shape or form having a test on that!)
You can add way points, saying for example you want to go from Cape Town to Johannesburg via Durban.
Sim card and Bluetooth
Inserting a sim card gives you access to live traffic, showing you exactly what the traffic is like and how long your delay will be. The other option is to pair it with your phone via Bluetooth or wifi – it only uses about two megs a week. I really appreciated the fact that my arrival time was exactly what the device had stated – always!
The TomTom Bridge also notifies you of speed cameras – a must for any South African speedsters. *Disclaimer: The Techie Guy does not condone or support excessive speed in a motor vehicle of any kind – stick to the speed limit people.
Updates can be expected every three months which are mainly map data updates. All of the updates are free – woohoo!
It’s got a 5 megapixel camera, so it’s decent quality but who’s expecting professional photography from it.
Standard Android stuff
Web browser, calendar, email, calculator are all there.
Whatsapp and Facebook were installed by the TomTom team as an example of what can be installed.
There is however an admin user that can set up the device and manage all the apps, while the normal user is only permitted to make use of certain apps – ideal for a mobile workforce. But… and it’s a big but… the admin user can also control which apps are used when. Facebook can be loaded onto the device for personal use but the admin has control over when it can be used.
Online reference guide
There’s an online reference guide which explains the device. It’s a little bit technical but it explains most of what we need to know.
Another great feature is that music can be downloaded to the device and then played back through the built in speaker. Supposedly videos can be downloaded too but The Techie Guy advises against handling heavy machinery while simultaneously watching videos on your tablet.
Due to licencing issues between TomTom and Google – the Play Store is not yet on the device – I hear that’s going to be resolved in the very near future.
So in Summary:
All in all, TomTom is not trying to position this device as a personal navigation system but rather as a sales or workforce tool. The beauty of it is that it CAN be a personalised tablet.
About Clare Matthes:
Clare’s father swears she was born waving spirit fingers and singing tah dah in an oh-so-dahling-showbiz-esque manner. Nicknamed “Schnauze” because of her smart mouth and quick whit, Clare enjoys putting the world in words. This sarcastic eye roller extraordinaire has a passion for all things gadget, technology and social media. She sees the humour in everything and never shies away from a good old égoportrait (selfie).