Magellan Tapping New Niches
By Joseph Palenchar On Jan 10 2012 - 5:01am
LAS VEGAS —
Magellan plans to expand its customer
base with its first GPS-based fitness products, a lower
opening price in its outdoors-oriented eXplorist handheld
GPS line, its second portable navigation device (PND) for
RV users, and its first PND for trucks.
Behind closed doors, the company is meeting with retailers
to preview other PNDs that will ship in March.
In GPS-based fitness products, the company is
launching the Switch fitness watch with GPS and the
Switch Up, which can be snapped into an included wristband
or into an included bike mount via quick-release
mechanism. The water-resistant products will be packaged
with and without wireless heart-rate monitors at
expected everyday prices of $249 to $349 when they
become available in the spring, senior product and marketing
manager Mike Maxson.
The Switch is targeted to running enthusiasts who also
engage from time to time in other outdoor activities such
as motor biking and skiing. The Switch Up is targeted to
multisport athletes, including triathletes. “People don’t just
run or bike,” Maxson said of the devices’ crossover appeal.
Both devices capture distance, pace heart rate, track
calories and location, and feature and activity pacer. They
are also compatible with heart-rate, foot-pod, and bike sensors
that use ANT+ wireless technology.
The Switch Up adds a vibrate alert, altimeter and ambient
temperature sensor. A variety of accessories will be available
for both models.
Both devices let users upload data to a Magellan website
due to go live early in the second quarter. The website will
also send that data on to third-party sites that deliver “serious
performance analysis,” he added.
Although GPS fitness devices from two other suppliers
also target the crossover user, Magellan’s products will be
smaller and, unlike the others, will feature ambient temperature
sensor and offer an activity pacer that tells an athlete
what pace they must maintain to meet a goal, Maxson said.
Only one other crossover-targeted product in the market
has a barometric altimeter, he added.
In its outdoor-oriented eXplorist series of handheld GPS
devices, Magellan is lowering its opening price point to a
suggested $129 from $199 to appeal to the consumers
who take infrequently to the outdoors.
The new $129-suggested eXplorist 110 features 2.2-
inch QVGA transreflective color screen for readability in
direct sunlight, IPX-7 standards for ruggedness and waterproofing,
a SiRFstarIII GPS chipset to provide 3-meter to
5-meter accuracy, and a preloaded World Edition Map.
Most competitors in this price range use monochrome
screens, said product marketing director Sam Muscariello.
For the RV market, the company’s second PND is the
$349-suggested 9145, which just shipped to join the $399
9165. The new model offers the same features as the stepup
model with the exception of hands-free Bluetooth and
and free RDS-TMC traffic updates.
Versions of both models with free lifetime map updates
will ship later in the month.
Also new is a PND for trucks with driving-restriction database,
loud speaker, and ability for multiple drivers to log
in their mileage. The $379-suggested 5190 with 5-inch
screen ships at the end of the month. It interfaces with
fleet-management systems, enabling a dispatcher to add
destinations to a truck’s PND for routing.
Two more truck-oriented PNDs are due late in the first
quarter without the interface to fleet-management systems.