Garmin announced a new product today, the Edge 705. I'm surprised there has been no mention of it on this board.
It's an interesting product: it has just about everything any cyclist would want in a cycling computer. It has full color street maps, a heart rate monitor, means for getting power data from third party power meters via the low power ANT protocol, and a barometer for refined elevation estimation.
The use of the ANT protocol is interesting, particularly for getting power from third party power measuring devices. I think Garmin is smart not to develop power measurement devices on their own; these are tricky (in my view) mechanical devices that measure actual power delivered to the pedals. (With this information, a cyclist can accurately and precisely determine performance and even calories burned.) So, they've wisely partnered with other companies who have expertise where they don't.
The ant protocol also allows cyclists to share data with each other. This could be very valuable for recreational cyclists who want to share routes, or advanced cyclists working as a team.
With all its features, no competitor's cycling or fitness computer comes anywhere near close to the Edge 705. With this at the top end and the Forerunner 50 at the bottom end, Garmin is on its way to owning the recreation/fitness market, in my view.
This is great! I am a long term holder of Garmin and will now have my 3rd GPS device as I am a biker and the Edge now has the features that I have been waiting for.
To the comment that this is a "small niche market" Having lived in Belgium, where biking is the national sport, I would not be too quick to discount the size of this market. In Holland 1/2 of the population commutes by bike and they already have GPS maps for just the bike routes. Remember that biking is a large sport in Europe, like baseball here.
Almost every road biker of any ability even in the US, has at the least a time/distance devise. About half of the riders on any weekend ride have the cadence/heart rate.
Also bikers love to share good routes, where the roads are of good quality, the traffic is light, good hill climbs, etc. If we go for ride to a new area, it would be great to get preplanned routes.
Glad to see Garmin capture and become the leader in another GPS segment!!!!
I too am looking forward to the 605 and the 705 hitting the market. I've been wanting the 305 but it did not have maps. Finally they are going to make that available. I'm not so interest in sharing as I know the routes in my area but if I could go into a bike shop in another area of the country and download routes from them into my handlebar mounted GPS unit it would be great. Wouldn't have to be watching the intersection signs so close as the unit would let me know when to turn. I e-mailed the press release to many of my cycling friends and these units sound like they will sell good in my group.
I saw this too as well as the announcement for the GarminConnect. I am actually a little baffled by these releases. What is the total market for this kind of incredibly niched products?? How many people REALLY want to see someone else's fitness route/records? I'm getting a little concerned that Garmin is spending so much time and resources on things that are high on the 'Oh neat' scale but ZERO on the usability scale. Why haven't they come out with any innovations in the actual GPS's that could drive sales to the masses instead of these kinds of things that appeal to a few thousand? Perhaps the market is bigger and I'm clueless, but it's a little concerning. I think it'd be great if they would announce something like a Nuvi with a 80GB hard drive in there and it could play videos as well as the audio player. Then you've got something similar to the Ipod... *I* personally think that'd be an innovation and warmly received.
I felt similarly when they came out with the dog tracker, but I think the fitness/recreation line has broader appeal. Consider, for a moment, the number of people you see riding bicycles, whether mountain or road bikes. Many of these bikes cost thousands of dollars, and the owners are willing to pay anything for fitness or to enhance their favorite recreation.
Granted, it will never have the scale of the automotive products, but I think the announcement shows the depth and breadth of innovation the company is capable of. The company is not just well managed; it is technically astute, even dominant in some markets.