TomTom, Google team up on business information
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch navigation systems company TomTom said on Wednesday it was teaming up with Internet search leader Google Inc so users can find and send business addresses to their portable devices.
TomTom, which makes navigation devices for cars and mapping software for handheld computers, said in a statement its users would be able to search for business addresses on Google Maps and transfer them to their TomTom device.
"This cooperation represents a major step for TomTom in meeting the growing demands of our customers for personalized content for their TomTom devices," said Eric Pite, vice president for product management at TomTom.
TomTom shares, which tumbled on Tuesday after announcing an equity issue to help fund its purchase of digital map supplier Tele Atlas, were up 2.4 percent at 60.40 euros by 0803 GMT, compared with a 0.7 percent rise on the DJ Stoxx technology index.
TomTom said its users would be able to transfer information to their devices when they are connected to the Internet with one mouse click and then view the location on their TomTom.
It said it would continue to explore partnerships with third parties to expand the personalization options it offers.
The tie-up would for instance allow TomTom users to plan a city trip by searching for accommodation, restaurants or museums using Google Maps on their computer and then transfer the places they want to visit to their TomTom device.
TomTom's devices do include so-called "points of interest" -- such as restaurants, petrol stations and parking garages -- but if a user has not regularly bought map upgrades, such data can become out of date.
Industry experts have also argued that consumers usually do not sit in their cars using a navigation system to plan trips, and are much more likely to use their computers at home, where they have full Internet access.
TomTom expects a substantial number of devices sold next year to be online and receiving real-time traffic information and eventually other services over wireless networks.
These services could help TomTom fend off a challenge from handset makers such as Nokia, which are increasingly building global positioning (GPS) technology into phones, promising to turn a cellphone into a navigation device.
Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, signaled in October this month it was serious about GPS by offering to pay $8.1 billion to take over digital map maker Navteq.
TomTom was forced to raise its bid for Tele Atlas to about 2.9 billion euros last month to seal the deal after U.S. rival Garmin offered 2.3 billion euros for the company.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson, editing by Will Waterman)
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