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TomTom issues fix for sat-nav leap year bug

by Mark Tyson on 4 April 2012, 13:08

Tags: TomTom

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Sat-nav maker TomTom has responded quickly to some of its units being hobbled by a “leap year bug”. Not all TomToms are affected but the problem proved serious because it rendered numerous devices useless for navigation.

Symptoms include a blank grey screen and an inability to lock onto any GPS satellites. If you are lost, or away from home, you can temporarily get your affected device to work with a hard reset; holding the power button for 20 seconds.

TomTom logo

However if you are at home or have access to the internet and TomTom's update service, you can now update your device to fix the bug. Instructions from TomTom are available here. That’s quite a fast response from the first cry for help on the TomTom message boards on Monday; “My TomTom 1535 doesn’t work! Help!”

Dedicated sat-nav manufacturers have had to endure a series of bad news and forecasts for their industry so this kind of leap year bug is publicity they didn’t want to have. Just focussing on TomTom for now, it’s been in the headlines for sales drops and workforce layoffs, and earmarked for complete extinction due to the threat of smartphones.

satellite navigation

Indeed dedicated sat-nav makers must innovate or die. They have cut prices and added features but are still fighting the smartphone tide. My daughter just had her sat-nav stolen and called me to ask for help with a replacement, after a brief web search I called her back and said “use your phone”, she has a powerful Samsung Galaxy S, for which there are several free and useable sat-nav programs readily available.

Has anyone substituted using a dedicated sat-nav device with their smartphone recently? Let us know in the comments below.

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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I've never had a dedicated satnav! I just started using my old Nokia n73 with nokia maps for navigation as soon as it was available. Moved to an N96 which I actually got a car mount for as I used it in anger a few times. Since then moved to a X10 and used google maps to navigate. Looking forward to testing my new Galaxy note this weekend (with GLASSNOS support and a 5.3" it should be good!). I'd invest in an app with local map storage if I used it enough to use up my data plan with google maps.
I've never bothered with a dedicated sat nav either, mostly I just have a quick look at a map then drive from memory and reading the road signs. Sometimes for the last few miles of around town or city driving I'll use a smartphone.
Ahh the old “turn it off and turn it back on” technique… solves 98.2% of all IT-related problems ;)
Got my mum one of these for Christmas a few years back for about £100. I got her the base TomTom model and the maps were out of date. And then they don't update for free! WTF! Money rinsing a-holes. So they can all die a horrible death as far as I'm concerned.

Used Skobler on my iPhone which isn't particularly good. What these things never seem to get right is that it is NEVER quicker to go through London than around the outside of it. Got an Atlas in my car now - prefect.
I never had dedicated satnav, my first one was my Dell X51v.
After that all my phones have had built in google stuff…