Garmin has introduced Garmin Fit an App that allows you to track your workouts on either an iPhone or Android phone and saving that training progress for later. Garmin certainly isn't the first to introduce a training App for mobile phpones, and won't be the last, but they are certainly one to watch and add to the consideration set.
Garmin has also announced an ANT+ adapter for the iPhone, similar to the one from Wahoo Fitness, called the Fisica ANT+ Sensor Key. I have been using one for a while with MapMyRide to track training rides. It allows me to track heart rate from my Garmin HRM strap.
Garmin has also added the capability to upload your complete workout to your Garmin Connect account and track your training progress there. The last 30 days of training progress are available on your Fitness App. The App costs $0.99, while the ANT+ adapter costs $49.
Recently, Garmin announced a series of new GPS units, some of which (Nuvi 2405 and 2505 series) use what they call "PhotoReal Junction View" - well for a little more on the subject, they also cranked out a video to explain things.
So not only do they cover 60,000 junctions across the US, through their proprietary database, but they will show you a map of where to go and the PhotoReal image in a split screen. Probably the most innovative thing is that they highlight the Highway sign that you need and dim the ones you don't; very cool.
The Garmin Nuvi 2350LMT is Amazon's Deal of the Day today and is on sale for $149. The Nuvi 2350 LMT comes with lifetime map updates, and lifetime traffic updates, as well as a healthy set of features including Lane Assist and Junction View - which give you a quick look at where you need to be in that upcoming confusing intersection before it's too late. The MyTrends feature learns your normal driving routes and starts to replicate them when giving you directions. This combined with a traffic sense can have this Nuvi learning the roads like a local who knows the traffic problems before you do.
Rip a page out of any marketing text and you'll find a way to deal with threats; how many people have done a SWOT analysis on their business? Well, it seems like the folks at Garmin are taking their threats head on in a little tongue in cheek fashion. Below are five quick videos that point out why the new Nuvi line of GPS devices is smarter than other options. So while the mobile phone may be taking huge bites out of the stand alone GPS market potential, paper direction printouts continue to be an opportunity for converts to switch to a 2012 Garmin GPS.
Paper Direction print outs - cost money in ink - Hey, I just paid $65 in ink cartridges this weekend myself.
Navigating with Smartphones - if you are downloading maps as you go, and are not on an unlimited data plan, you might be in for a surprise when the bill comes, those maps are data-hounds.
Sure, there are a few concepts here that are a stretch, but take a look and have a chuckle. It will take less than 2 minutes to watch them all.
Garmin announced their Essentials line today - a line-up that includes basic GPS units in varying screen sizes with a reasonable list of features. The Garmin Nuvi 30 is a 3.5-inch basic GPS with turn by turn directions, spoken word directions, as well as junction view and lane assist. Since 3.5-inch units are essentially dead, let's talk about the bigger models....
Garmin Nuvi 40 Essentials Line
The real fun starts at the Nuvi 40 level where the screen size jumps to 4.3-inch and adds an "LM" version where the unit comes with lifetime maps and traffic. Some quality features are maintained in this "Essentials" line which used to be a premium feature, but alas, overtime are features that are expected by everyone. Features here that I like and are worth noting:
Speed Limit indicators - used to be barely accurate, but are pretty good these days; generally won't catch a lower speed limit in a highway construction zone though.
Lane assist and Junction View - this is Garmin's version of helping you out when complex highway intersections are coming up; they show you which lane to be in in order to make your turn. Helpful in areas where you are uncertain of which lane to be in. Not so much when there is only one exit lane and ramp.....
Where Am I? - a simple tap of the icon and you get location information to tell first responders if you are in trouble.
Comes with the fun ability to download new vehicle icons from the "Garmin Garage" to change the icon to all kinds of fun creations depending on your mood or the time of the year.
The Nuvi 50 also has an "LM" version, but comes with a 5-inch screen. The feature set-up is similar, and gets you going in a 5-inch model without a lot of higher end extras to drive up the price. Why a 5-inch screen? Well Today's 5-inch screen is yesterday's 4.3-inch screen, and with prices dropping on components, it's a reasonable price. I have used units up to 7-inches, and those are not always easy to manage. So for everyday use, 5-inches are OK, but much bigger means harder to handle, put on the windshield and hide under the seat, in the glove box, etc.
A key feature addition here is that with the extra real estate, you get a split screen for the Lane Assist/Junction View capability.
The Garmin Nuvi Prestige line comes in two basic flavors, the Nuvi 3450 and Nuvi 3490 - both come with the Guidance 3.0 bundle giving users a better navigation experience in the svelte multi-touch screen form factor.
The Guidance 3.0 system has the new 3D traffic capability that runs on the HD radio back bone giving not only more accurate data, but more of it so you can get a better overall view of your drive and alternates should traffic be an issue. The added My Trends feature also learns your routes and starts to recognize where you are driving without punching in a destination.
Finally, the system also adds Text Reading features to allow you to get and listen to your text messages without having to take your eyes off the road...... just don't answer them back by typing...... edit: The feature also allows you to answer back. The connection is across Bluetooth.
BirdsEye Junction View - Some complex junctions will come up with satellite images of the junction allowing you to see exactly what's going on from above.
Nuvi 3450 - Comes with the Guidance 3.0 system and a multi-touch screen. Beautiful to use and look at. MSRP - $329
Nuvi 3450LM - adds lifetime maps MSRP - $369
Nuvi 3490 LMT - adds traffic to the mix for the best overall experience - MSRP - $399
Garmin's Advanced Nuvi line up adds a new Guidance 2.0 bundle of features to deliver a better experience overall for the driver. The improved Junction View/Lane Assist system offers photorealistic views with an improved database of 60,000 locations that have life-like sign detail to better mimic the actual location. With the split screen, you can see the junction before you get to it, and understand which lane to be in ahead of time.
Updated Traffic information - this is a very much needed update, and changes the Garmin Traffic quality dramatically with their "3D" system: "Also part of Guidance 2.0 is 3D Traffic, providing a whole new experience that includes more than just live traffic data. As part of the world’s most extensive traffic avoidance system, 3D Traffic checks traffic conditions 2 billion times per month using a multidimensional feed of real-time traffic data from quality sources including other Garmin nuvi owners, cellphone users, radio feeds, news stations, historical traffic data and fixed traffic sensors on major roads. With trafficTrends™, the Nuvi automatically learns patterns for traffic flow and predicts where traffic will be. All of this data is sent to the Nuvi to provide timely and accurate updates to keep you moving instead of sitting in traffic wasting time and fuel."
Nuvi 2455LT/LMT - Guidance 2.0 system, photorealistic Lane Assist/Junction view and a dual orientation screen (portrait or landscape). The LT - lifetime traffic included, and LMT adds lifetime map updates. All in a 4.3-inch screen size. MSRP - $169 and $199 respectively.
Nuvi 2475 LT - similar to the 2555 series, but adds Bluetooth handsfree phone capability. MSRP - $229
Nuvi 2495 LMT - Adds voice command to the list of features. MSRP - $229
Nuvi 2555 LT/LMT - stepping up to a 5-inch screen size, the Nuvi 2555 offers the same features as the 2455, and comes in the "LT and LMT" variants, and MSRP $189 and $219 respectively.
Nuvi 2595 LMT - This unit adds voice activated voice commands to the feature list. MSRP - $249
The Garmin Nuvi 1450 LMT isn't the newest Nuvi on the block, but there are a long list of specs that make this really attractive to shoppers for a new GPS. Here are 5 reasons why it's a Best Seller - #1 on Amazon's list for best selling GPS units right now.
We've watched the GPS industry for a long time, and have reviewed GPS units from brands you probably know and love, and then some that should have died long before they did. Here are 5 reason's why the Garmin 1450 LMT is a Best Seller and why it might be a good choice for you.....
#1 - It's a Garmin - As the market leader, Garmin has become a household name, one that people are familiar with, and the implied trust is well deserved. They make a good product overall, stand behind their products with a good US-based call center, and figured out a long time ago how to make their GPS units work well and deliver high quality trusted directions.
#2 The super wide-screen coming in at 5-inces. The old school widescreens were 4.3-inces, and with this extra real estate, things are even easier to see, and type when you are trying to tap on those buttons to find a point of interest, or type in an address. With little noticeable downside, the extra real estate in a 5-inch screen is worth it.
#3 Free Lifetime Map Update and Traffic Subscriptions - I think the real pull here is the free map upgrades. Eve in areas where new roads aren't popping up every other week, you're going to need a map update sooner or later. Why not pay a small amount now for updates for a long, long time? On top of that, the Points of Interest gets upgraded too - businesses are always changing, and updated Points of Interest makes sense too. The TMC traffic on this particular unit is still hampered by the low bandwidth transmission of the FM spectrum. It will warm you about big issues, but may not be able to warn you about the after-effects on secondary roads when the main ones are jammed.
#4 intuitive User Interface - The Garmin interface has patented features that focus on making it easy to read and use; it's why they are the number one GPS maker in the US. With lane guidance and junction view the Nuvi 1450 LMT will tell you which lane to be in for the upcoming turn, giving you the confidence to explore afar. The turn by turn directions backed by the intuitive screen prompts make it trustworthy too. The first screen has two main options - "Where to? and "View Map" - pretty easy, eh?
#5 The Price Mid- $100's Price Point - The price point is a good step up for people shopping the lower end of the GPS line around $100, but not so much that it hurts. With all of the value built in, the $160-ish price on this 5-Inch screen GPS makes it a good choice for a lot of shoppers.
Again, it's not the newest Garmin, but with free lifetime updates for maps, it will get you there confidently with ease. The 5-inch screen makes a big difference without being so huge that you need to crank your head to see around it.
The Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch is 60% off today as Amazon's Deal of the Day at $149. The Forerunner 405 is a small GPS watch with a touch bezel for changing views, ability to track distance, speed, pace, calories and heart rate monitor when paired with the Garmin Heart Rate Monitor (Optional). The HRM connects wirelessly using the ANT+ technology - short distance, low power.
It is a GPS enabled sport's watch, and not a mapping deice, so while it can help you gather accurate data about what you did, and where you went, you aren't out there with a map of your community on your wrist.
With the ANT+ Stick - a USB plug, you can wirelessly sync with your computer - easy and quick.
Check out the Garmin Forerunner 405 for $149 at Amazon.
So Garmin has gobbled up Navigon, adding some real strength in the Euro-zone to the Kansas maker of GPS devices. The financial terms were not disclosed. A couple of comments mark the occasion, and there is no doubt that this will add some depth to the offerings from both brands. So while they are keeping the same brand names (I assume for now), I might re-name the hero in Garmin's old Superbowl Monster - NaviGarmiGon, the do-gooder who slays evil maps..... heh, heh.
From the short press release..........
“We are pleased to have the Navigon team join the Garmin family,” said Cliff Pemble, chairman and COO of Garmin Ltd. “We are looking forward to expanding our ability to serve our collective customers going forward.”
“We are excited to be a part of Garmin and we look forward to turning our efforts toward integration and the opportunities ahead,” said Egon Minar, Navigon’s board member . “Navigon has an innovative new product lineup that we’re excited to bring to market in time for the holiday 2011 season and beyond.”
A few thoughts about the marriage.......
Interface - Personally, I like the Garmin interface better than the Euro-styled Navigon interface, which for me makes a huge difference. While the Garmin interface has been criticized for being to cartoon-like, it's darn easy to use and to understand.
Feature-Rich - I would argue that Navigon both suffers and profits from its flexibility and its features. They continue to offer options galore on their PND's (the last ones I saw), and offer a feature-rich iPhone application (Inrix-based traffic feeds anyone?). With options comes some interface issues, but I like the flexibility and trust the traffic flow from Inrix; Hey daily Inrix users spend one less day a year in traffic.
App - Navigon moved into the App world a lot faster than Garmin and continues to have a pretty good lead on them feature-wise. Garmin is running a close second to TomTom in terms of Top Grossing Apps according to the iTunes store on my last check, but I think that's driven by brand name recognition and not Application performance. Is anyone else having subtle issues with routing on the Garmin StreetPilot App? I am.
Product Design - Garmin has always led here in my mind with simple designs and effective mounts. The physical look, feel and functionality award definitely goes to Garmin. While Navigon pushed the design envelope early, they fell down on simple things like the tactile feedback of the power button - "Did it just go on or not?"