TomTom is finally bringing its “Blue&Me” car navigation/radio to North America in the 2012 Fiat 500.
The system has been offered in Europe for years, and made waves because it was based on Microsoft technology and offered voice recognition (a kind of European Ford Sync).
It is now available in the Fiat 500 and has the interesting feature of being both a portable and in-car system.
In addition to providing navigation, it combines with the car’s infrastructure to display basic car functions. But it is also portable and can be removed to another car.
It “bridges the gap between automotive electronics and retail electronics to bring navigation technology to the vehicle system with quicker time to market,” TomTom Automotive managing director Giles Shrimpton.
In the Fiat, Blue&Me displays the car’s trip computer and you get low fuel warnings. And all functions can be accessed using either the steering wheel controls or touch screen, and it also has voice control and command.
There’s a 4.3-inch glass screen with pinch and zoom and swipe touch control. You get advanced navigation, and a display for a media player and hands free capability with certain phones.
The navigation route planning takes historical traffic patterns into consideration.