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Garmin Outdoor Product Hints


Garmin recently announced a new line of handheld GPS devices, the Montana series. These models feature a four inch screen, slightly bigger than the older three inch models on devices like the Oregon. But what has us pondering more is the hints at other new products Garmin dropped on their site. I’ll take the bait and speculate on what might be coming.

May 31: These put hints and caches in your hand.

This almost certainly will be a handheld GPS marketed specifically to geocachers. Now that Garmin is running their “OpenCaching” initiative it would make sense for them to offer a GPS specific to geocaching. While their current lineup well handles advanced geocaching features like paperless caching, competitors like Magellan are offering products specifically marketed at geocaching like the eXplorist GC. Garmin could take such a product and preload every cache from OpenCaching.com and more tightly integrate the fields and terminology used there.

June 1: The handheld that’ll have everyone talking.

We were staring to wonder if Garmin (or the GPS market in general) had forgot about the old Rino series. They just hadn’t seen the update love that other models have received in the past couple of years. For those that forget, these devices feature small two-way radios that allow short range audio communication between linked devices. You could also “send” your location on a map to other nearby Rino users. This was great for hunters who wanted to see other people in their party on the map, and even good for families participating in outdoor activities like skiing. An update to the Rino line to add two-way communications to an Oregon or Montana like device seems likely.

The logo might have you thinking this is some sort of two-way text message communicating GPS to compete with the DeLorme/SPOT devices out there… and that is certainly plausible, and expected at some point, but the word talk really has me leaning towards a Rino like device.

June 1: This dog’s gonna hunt.

When Garmin talks dogs, they are talking about their Astro line. Wrap a Garmin Astro collar around your dog and track it on your GPS. Not so much for “pet tracking” but more for hunters and their hunting dogs. This should pair up nicely with an updated Rino-like device and likely many of the other handheld models too.

June 3: Say a thousand words with a single click.

This hint is perhaps the most open-ended of all. We’re obviously talking digital cameras here… but what and how? Could Garmin be ready to introduce their own branded digital camera with automatic geotagging? Could they simply be talking about cameras on handheld models? (If so two of the recently announced Montana models feature a 5-megapixel camera. Or perhaps some sort of dongle or tracklog recorder that will later geotag photos? A Garmin branded camera made with the help of another manufacturer, or perhaps a cobranded camera would be an interesting possibility and something I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see. While Garmin’s cobranding attempts with Asus and the Nuvifone were a flop, perhaps a GarminCam would be different. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say this will be some sort of a dedicated camera with GPS capabilities rather than a dedicated GPS with camera capabilities.

Time will tell…

3 Responses

  1. Great article Tim. We’re pretty much in agreement on what the clues will lead to, except that I do expect the Rino replacement to have Spot-like capabilities. And that’s only because of a document I ran across several months ago. You might be absolutely correct that Spot functions might come at a later time with a different model.

    gatorguy - May 20th, 2011
  2. I have a Garmin 295 that has a 3MP camera with geotagging feature. It also has a “Share” feature that sends the geotagged pic and the approximate address in an email. The email will be sent when a WIFI hotspot is detected.

    robert - June 22nd, 2011
  3. I would like to know the best GPS for outdoors. Like climbing mountains doing trekking or walking in the wildernis.

    Dorette - December 4th, 2011

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