TomTom has announced the release of a software upgrade for its NAV-3 devices. These are the newer units that interface to your computer via the MyTomTom software, not via the TomTom HOME2 software used by the older NAV-2 devices.
Although a number of bug fixes have been included in this update, for most of us the biggest news in this release is probably improvements that have been incorporated. These include some long-standing requests from users such as vastly expanded POI searches and better Voice Control on new devices that offer that function.
Until now, a search of POI information was limited to a radius of about 50 miles (80 kilometers), but that limit has now been increased to 1250 miles. This makes it much, much more practical to do advance planning for hotels, restaurants, etc. at the beginning of an all-day drive.
Another of the improvements included is applicable only to the devices that offer voice control, such as my GO LIVE 1535. In the past, if I wanted to issue voice commands to drive to a specific location instead of tapping on the screen, it was still necessary to tap on the screen to start the voice control process.
With this change, the GPS constantly listens for me to make a specific statement (Hey TomTom!) and will start the voice control process if it hears that phrase. TomTom calls that capability Key Word Activation (KWA), and I find KWA and the current implementation of voice control to make verbal commands very convenient.
Frankly, when I first started using the GO LIVE 1535, I was very disappointed with the voice control, which had a very poor success rate with my verbal commands, and I considered the voice control feature almost worthless. However, since that time they have been improving that feature to where my commands are almost always recognized and implemented correctly. With the addition of KWA, I now consider this capability to be one of the very useful features of the current version of my 1535.
UNFORTUNATELY, the word going around is that the KWA change is only implemented on units that were sold in the last couple of months, so it appears that it may not be available on older devices that have voice control - even though they have the same model number. I also hear that KWA is being implemented only in North America. I am guessing that this may be due to the challenge of recognizing accents, but that is just speculation on my part.
- Tom -
As an addendum to the previous post, it appears that the POI Search will stop after finding 96 locations, even if this happens before the distance limit is reached.
It sounds as if this may require some care in how the search is specified if you are looking for something that you know may yield a lot of results and is some distance away. However, it does appear to be a real improvement as long as a little thought is given to the search.
I guess I'd better update my wife's 1535. I'm her automatic update service.
I find that doing a search along route yields decent results. I like to do my research before a trip and then load the locations as a poi file on my TomTom. This way all I have to do is open the file and all my locations are there.
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