TomTom expands Places app to five countries

TomTom announced Wednesday the launch of its Google Maps-competitor app TomTom Places in four more countries.

The app, which has clocked up 75,000 downloads in the Netherlands, is a flat version of the point-of-interest database held in TomTom navigation units, providing data through a map-based interface.

Now, it will be available for iPhone users visiting Germany, Belgium, Portugal, and Denmark, as a free-of-charge download from the App Store.

Users can search for both businesses and attractions, with hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, cash machines all available.

As with competing apps from the likes of TripAdvisor, users can also see reviews from other customers, check opening times, follow websites and call the establishment directly.

It also includes data from TomTom's traffic planning services, helping to alert users of any potential delays - although full turn-by-turn navigation, as found on the company's other iPhone apps, isn't included.

TomTom Places is an interesting direction for the satellite navigation brand, which is increasingly spreading its wings and diversifying from its core product of in-car navigation units.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show, which runs through September 25, TomTom has appeared in several vehicles thanks to tie-ups with international automakers, including the new Fiat Panda and Mazda CX-5.

With a promise to expand geographically in the quarters ahead, it seems that the Dutch brand is planning to conquer the cell phone, as well as the automobile.