By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Fresh from its sale by defense contractor Thales to Shah Capital Partners, Magellan launched a round of GPS portables that bring its entry-level price down to a suggested $399 and includes combined car/outdoor hiking devices at the high end.
The RoadMate 2000, the company's $399 piece due this month, is a pocket-sized unit with 3.5-inch screen, built-in maps of the 48 continental states and 1.5 million points of interest. It also offers a SmartDetour feature that automatically prompts the user to reroute when traffic is slowed or stopped on major roads.
It will be joined in October by the water-resistant $499-suggested RoadMate 2200, which adds a real-time traffic option and which can be upgraded to offer outdoor and hiking navigation through an SD card with topographical maps. Magellan claims the 2200 will offer best-in-class battery life of up to eight hours. It includes maps of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and embeds an MP3 player and picture viewer. The unit announces street names for the next turn.
At the top of the trio is the RoadMate 2500T Traveler, dubbed a crossover GPS that's waterproof and built for use driving as well as outdoors. It has the 2200's features plus topographic contour maps of the lower 48 states. It is expected to ship in December at $549, including a rubberized jacket.
Magellan, previously known as Thales Navigation was sold to Shah Capital in a deal finalized last month for $170 million plus considerations. It retains CEO Henri Gaillard and is expected to become a more nimble company with more entrepreneurial freedom under the new owners. Gerald Hwasta, operating partner of Shah Capital, said Shah will “bring flexibility into the organization” and “put into place consumer electronics best practices.”
Although Magellan is typically ranked as the No. 3 brand in GPS, the company said it disputes rankings by The NPD Group, which show Magellan with a 14.2 percent share of U.S. retail sales to consumers, compared with Garmin's 47.8 percent and TomTom's 25.2 percent share (from March through May 2006). Magellan claims it is the No. 2 brand with about 29 percent market share because NPD does not track sales in RadioShack, Wal-Mart and warehouse clubs. “Some of our biggest accounts are those that NPD does not track,” explained Gaillard.
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