Mio Updates GPS Device Range for Cycling

Exhibiting last week at the Eurobike trade show in Germany, MiTAC Europe the parent company of the Mio GPS brand unveiled four new models of GPS devices for cycling: Mio Cyclo 100 (€140), Mio Cyclo 105 ($170), Mio Cyclo 105 H (€210) and Mio Cyclo 105 HC (€240).

All of the four devices have a black and white 1.8-inch display and come in a waterproof (IPX7) casing.

While the Mio Cyclo 100 is pretty basic, the 105 has a built-in ANT+ wireless chipset that can connect with a heart monitor, and cadence and wheel sensor, though these will have to be purchased separately. The Mio Cyclo 105 H comes with a heart rate belt included, while the Mio Cyclo 105HC adds the heart rate sensor as well as a speed and cadence wheel sensor.

The full range is expected to be on the shelves at the end of September.

Bluetooth SIG Adopts Ad Hoc Profiles for Sport & Fitness Sensors

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) this week finalized standards (the Running and Cycling Speed and Cadence specifications) that will allow the interoperability of Bluetooth-enabled fitness sensors with other devices such as watch, smartphones, etc.

“Historically, sports and fitness sensors capable of tracking speed and cadence relied on proprietary technology, limiting their reach and functionality. The Running S&C and Cycling S&C profiles unlock these sensors, allowing companies to build products that can connect with the tens of millions of Bluetooth Smart Ready devices already in the market, and the hundreds of millions on the way in the coming quarters,“ said Suke Jawanda, chief marketing officer at Bluetooth SIG.

Bluetooth v4.0 low energy technology can already be found in products like the Nike+ FuelBand, Nike+ Basketball and Training shoes, Polar heart rate monitors, Wahoo fitness devices, etc.

ABI Research forecasts shipments of Bluetooth enabled sports and fitness devices will grow ten-fold from 2011 to 2016, reaching 90 million units at the end of the period.

In the sport and fitness market Bluetooth low energy is competing against ANT+ technology. The fast adoption of Bluetooth v4.0 in smartphones is a trend that ANT+ will have difficulties to fight as also confirmed by a report from IMS research (read here).

Garmin Unveils Golf GPS Watch

Garmin today announced the Approach S1, its first GPS Golf Watch. The new $250 wristwatch displays precise yardages to the front, back and middle of greens and comes preloaded with 14,000-plus U.S. and Canadian courses.

The watch is waterproof (IPX7) and weights 1.8 oz (52 g) with its rechargeable lithium-ion battery that last 3 weeks in watch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode.

The watch complements the range of GPS Golf touchscreen handhelds – Approach G5 and Approach G3 — previously launched and featuring detailed vector mapping of courses.

This watch is the first of this kind, competitors like Suunto having Golf watches and GPS finess watches but not a GPS range finder on a watch.

SPOT updates GPS satellite tracker

SPOT LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc. is unveiling today its new SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. The new device is 30% smaller and lighter (5.2 ounces/147 grams) than the original SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker, offers additional custom messaging modes, and uses the Amy-5M GPS chipset from u-blox.

SPOT LLC is showcasing its line of products and services this week at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Unlike many other GPS locator relying on cellular networks for communication, SPOT relies on the satellite communication system from Globalstar which makes it perfectly adapted for outdoor sports. The only competition in this field is from personal location beacons (for example the Fast Find 210 from McMurdo) which cost a minimum of $300 and are only for emergency, without the possibility to send location messages to family and friends.

The new SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger also has some features to enhance the usability such as a GPS Acquisition light and a “Message sent” indicator light. There are also covers over S.O.S and Help buttons to prevent inadvertent messages. This new SPOT Satellite GSP Messenger is scheduled to be available at select retailers later this fall. Price has not been indicated at this stage, it is however likely to be in the range of the older model, around $149 with a one year service subscription starting at $99.

Since its market introduction at the end of 2007, SPOT has initiated more than 250 rescues and sent over 10 million peace-of-mind and track-me messages around the world. As of March 31, 2009 the Company had received orders to ship more than 120,000 units and it currently has a growing global network of more than 8,000 points of distribution.

Lowrance to enter European outdoor GPS market

Following on the announcement of Endura, its new range of outdoor GPS handhelds a few months ago in the United States, Lowrance is also preparing the launch of the same devices on the European market, GPS Business News learned this week.

Priced between €230 and €500-550, the Endura Outback, Safari and Sierra are expected to be on the European shelves early July — In the United States the introduction is expected around June 20.

These European products will be sold with a large range of mapping and POI content from NAVTEQ, Intermap and Navionics to be available on the device or sold through an additional MicroSD card. Specific local content such as Ordnance Survey map data in the United Kingdom is also expected to be available as an option.

Lowrance expects to make 50% of its volume with the entry level Outback, 40% with the mid-range Safari and 10% with the high end Sierra. The company will use its existing channel partner from its marine business and new distributors when appropriate.

Lowrance would like to position itself as a credible alternative to Garmin, the heavyweight on this market, and grab the number two position from Magellan’s hands.

Augmentra enhances off-road nav software

UK-based Augmentra, the editor of Viewranger outdoor navigation software for mobile phones said today its solution is now compatible with Nokia S60 touch screen phones such as the Nokia 5800. With this new release Augmentra has also enhanced its software to allow over-the-air access to a growing library of navigable leisure route guides. The company has initiated partnerships with content publishers to make their leisure route content available to be searched, browsed and downloaded direct to the handset. The first partner to deliver their content through this platform is walkingworld.com who offers a library of over 4,500 detailed and illustrated walking guides across the UK.

Further enhancements within the software add extensions to ViewRanger’s BuddyBeacon tracking capability. A Buddy Trail is now shown and you can set a BuddyBeacon as a navigation target. ViewRanger has also partnered with Retrieva Tracking Ltd to allow users to track and navigate to their dogs via BuddyBeacon support for Retrieva’s upcoming GPS-enabled dog collar.

To date Viewranger offers the broadest choice in topographic maps with more than 10 countries covered in Western Europe.

Magellan eXplorist 500 LE handheld GPS now available in Europe

Magellan announced that the Magellan eXplorist 500 LE handheld GPS is now available in Europe for 399 Euros. Featured with a built-in color map of Europe, it offers views of roads, rivers, waterways, greenways, city centers, airports and other major points of interest.

The Magellan eXplorist 500 LE calculates an area and a perimeter while providing vertical profiles and more. The interface allows users to load and access multiple programs on a single Secure Digital (SD) memory card. Using MapSend Topo software, hikers have a view of contours, elevations, detailed terrain and extensive points of interest to find the sights and services along the way.

On the water, the Magellan eXplorist 500 LE includes fishing and hunting times as well as a sun and moon calculator for any outdoor activity. Searchable points of interest available with MapSend Bluenav make it easy to find the nearest services, marina, tower, beach, bait & tackle, fuel, amenities and fishing and kayaking information.

Rugged and waterproof, the 14-parallel-channel, WAAS/EGNOS-enabled GPS receiver delivers three-meter accuracy, weighs less than four ounces and measures 4.6 x 2.1 x 1.3 inches. It is powered with AAA batteries (or an optional Li-ion battery) and features a color, backlit, high-resolution, 2.3" diagonal display.

The PC-style file management feature allows users to create multiple files, folders and directories to store and maneuver through information in a PC-like structure,.

In addition, optional Magellan eXplorist accessories include batteries, power adaptors, various mounting options and MapSend software, including MapSend Topo, MapSend BlueNav XL3, MapSend BlueNav Local plus other international titles.