TomTom's insurance gambit Weekly Brief—2.13.12

TomTom's insurance gambit Weekly Brief—2.13.12

In this week's Brief: TomTom, Motaquote, INRIX, MapQuest, Buick, OnStar, Sprint, Orange Business Services, Pioneer, Garmin, Harman, and Yahoo

TomTom entered the insurance telematics space through a new partnership with insurance broker Motaquote.

Together, the companies plan to launch Fair Pay Insurance, a product that uses driving ability and behavior to allocate premiums, rather than flawed risk factors like postcode, gender, and age or vehicle type.

Drivers who sign up for Fair Pay will benefit from a specially developed TomTom PRO 3100 navigation device, which includes Active Driver Feedback and LIVE Services.

This means policy holders can be alerted to driving events, such as harsh cornering and sharp breaking, and benefit from accurate traffic information updated every two minutes.

“Our entry in the insurance market with our proven fleet management technology puts us at the forefront of a move that could help to revolutionise the motor insurance industry,” says Thomas Schmidt, Managing Director TomTom Business Solutions.

With the help of INRIX, MapQuest integrated traffic and road condition cameras into its maps and directions so that drivers can see pictures of present road conditions.

To see the traffic cams on MapQuest, users can click on the "Live Traffic" button located at the top right portion of the map.

Wherever a traffic cam is available, a small blue camera icon will pop up to hover over and click on for the camera image and more information.

MapQuest has already added more than 11,000 cameras and plans to add more in the next several months.

Buick released new smartphone games to sharpen their drivers’ techniques and improve fuel economy.

The games are built in collaboration with eAssist, a fuel-efficient technology that adds an electric motor and lithium-ion battery to an ECOTEC engine.

The three games come bundled in a single app. One, “Regeneration Road,” highlights the regenerative braking feature of eAssist, which captures energy otherwise wasted during braking to repower the compact lithium-ion battery located beneath the car's trunk floor.

“Roll and Boost” and “Wind Tunnel Tester” comprise the rest of the gaming experience.

OnStar concluded its pilot of the FamilyLink service, which makes it easy for subscribers to locate their car on a digital map and stay informed of their car’s location throughout the day via text or email messages.

OnStar has not announced when it will roll out the feature in alpha or how it will price it moving forward. Parents anxious about their teens’ whereabouts are a primary target clientele.

Sprint partnered with Orange Business Services to provide Sprint with global machine-to-machine connectivity outside the U.S.

Sprint says the partnership will equip U.S. business customers with a strong global M2M capability and help them reduce complexity by working with a single support team.

With Orange, Sprint plans to expand to 180 countries in segments like automotive and telematics, smart grid and metering, healthcare, retail point-of-sale and security.

Pioneer reached a settlement agreement with Garmin in which Pioneer granted Garmin the right to use a number of Pioneer's GPS navigation patents.

The settlement agreement does not include a license to Pioneer's other patents.

All pending litigations in the United States and Germany have been terminated.

Harman reported that its infotainment sales increased 20 percent and operating margin improved to 8.3 percent in the second quarter, which ended December 31, 2011.

Net sales for the second quarter totaled $1,127 million, an increase of 18 percent compared to the same period last year.

Excluding foreign currency translation, net sales increased by 19 percent.

Yahoo! launched a search engine specifically for smartphone apps. The feature is housed on the main search results page, under the new "Apps" app.

Inside, users can search for any kind of smartphone app, though the default filter is set to Android apps.

Users can choose to filter search results based on price and category.

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