AT&T brings connectivity to TomTom

AT&T (NYSE:T) announced today it will lend its 3G network to navigation and digital map provider TomTom’s XL340S Live, its first mid-range portable navigation device (PDN) preloaded with Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) local search service and real-time traffic information.

The device will let consumers search online for points of interest, the fastest routes through traffic or use TomTom’s service to find the best fuel prices. It retails for $299.99 including three months of connectivity. After that, the company is charging a $9.95 per month subscription fee.

Teaming up with TomTom is part of AT&T’s ongoing emerging device strategy in which the carrier is extending its network to as many consumer devices as possible. AT&T said it intends to collaborate more with TomTom, as well as a host of other device makers. So far, it is powering netbooks and an ebook reader from Plastic Logic. PNDs were high on the carrier’s list, but mobile Internet devices, digital cameras and essentially any other CE device are also on its roadmap.

This is a potentially lucrative undertaking, according to new research from ABI Research. ABI’s recent connected home devices study found that fourth screens – ranging from digital photo frames to media phones to Internet appliances – will generate a market value above $5 billion by 2014. Digital photo frames remain the most popular today, but ABI expects media phones that feature video playback, Internet connectivity and some form of voice functionality to become the best sellers. ABI expects more than 30 million media phones to ship in 2014.

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