It's no secret that our technology has been advancing at incredible rates over the past few decades, but the downside to that is that sometimes our gadgets end up virtually obsolete before the end of their operational lifespan, Just because of the simple fact that the hardware is too old to support newer software. A number of TomTom SatNavs are the latest victims of that trend.
The official line is that older generation SatNav devices don't have the resources to be able to run new versions of the company's maps and software. Anybody with an affected device and an active subscription to TomTom's mapping updates will continue to get updates, but they won't be able to renew that subscription or download software updates. The company told BBC News it's been "proactively" communicating with its customers, and has published a full list of the affected devices on its website.
BBC News points out, however, that a number of models affected by the change are still available to purchase, with product descriptions promising map updates for the "lifetime of the device". TomTom's website, however, claims that the term "lifetime" means "useful life" and not until it stops working. That's defined, by TomTom, as "the period of time TomTom supports your device with updates, services, content or accessories. A device will have reached the end of its life when none of these are available any more."
So basically lifetime updates means TomTom will update the maps and software for as long as it feels like. And once those updates stop coming, the satnavs themselves can end up out of date quite quickly.
Dedicated SatNavs are on their way out, though. John Lewis knows it, and analysts have noted a decline in TomTom's direct customer sales. After all, when most modern cars come with some sort of GPS system built in, and smartphones come with high quality constantly-updating maps, why spend money on an extra device?