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New Outdoor GPS Ships From Lowrance

Tulsa, Okla. — Lowrance is shipping in June its first new outdoor GPS products in more than four years, as the outdoor handheld GPS category continues to buck the recession.

Aimed at hikers, fisherman, hunters and other outdoorsmen, the devices are gaining in sales at a rate of about 5 percent to 10 percent on a small base of 2 million to 3 million units in worldwide sales, with about 70 percent of that the U.S., said Lowrance outdoor business unit GM Jochen Reiter.  Prior to recession, growth was expected to fall in the 10 percent to 15 percent range this year, driven by the availability of new maps that cater to a wider array of sports, such as snowmobiling or horseback riding.

Despite declines in its other GPS segments, Garmin recently reported revenue growth in outdoor GPS sales of 13 percent during its first quarter, ended March 28.

Lowrance’s new Endura line offers both a touch screen and hard keys. All models include MicroSD card slots for up to 32GB cards for additional maps, and the top two models allow turn-by-turn street navigation delivered via voice cues with optional maps. The units are waterproof (IPx7) with rubber armoring, and the top two offer an MP3 player, photo viewer and video player plus a microphone for dictating notes on the trail. The basic model, Out&Back, stores 2,000 waypoints.

All models come with a basic map including primary roads, a contour shaded relief map and key points of interest. The step-up Safari model adds secondary roads, and the Sierra adds topographic maps and extensive outdoor trails.

Optional mounting kits are also available for cars and various sport bikes.

The line ships in mid-June at suggested retail of $230 for the Out&Back, $385 for the Safari and $550 for the Sierra.