Jump to content

New Garmin Handhelds on the Horizon?


yogazoo
Followers 3

Recommended Posts

The Quarterly financial report from Garmin makes an interesting mention of new outdoor products in addition to the Epix watch in 2015.

 

"we expect to deliver products in other outdoor categories as the year progresses."

 

You can read the entire report here: http://newsroom.garmin.com/press-release/earnings/garmin-reports-strong-fiscal-2014-revenue-and-pro-forma-eps-growth-proposes-d

Edited by yogazoo
Link to comment

Here's the entire paragraph on the outdoor segment.

 

"Outdoor:

 

The outdoor segment posted a revenue decline of 8% in the quarter, while gross and operating margins remained strong at 62% and 35%, respectively. For the full year, we were able to deliver revenue growth of 4%, even though we have faced a number of headwinds in the outdoor segment including maturity of our traditional handheld business and a slowdown in the golf industry. We have overcome these challenges with strong offerings in wearables and dog tracking and training, which continue to be growth categories. As we enter 2015, we are dedicated to delivering compelling, feature-rich products, that will capture new and repeat customers. Fēnix® 3 and epix™, both of which launched at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), are those types of products and we expect to deliver products in other outdoor categories as the year progresses."

 

"maturity" is an interesting word choice to describe their "traditional handheld business". It doesn't say "product line" as in the current models are maturing (slowing sales just because of market saturation) which leads me to believe the entire handheld segment is, in Garmins view, growing old in the face of things like smartphones. A terrifying prospect for people like me who rely on and prefer Garmins dedicated units. Maybe I'm just reading a bit too much into the text.

Edited by yogazoo
Link to comment

The firmware certainly isn't mature on any of the recent handheld editions -- that's for sure! Not that this is anything new, of course.

 

Interesting as the epix unit is, it's expensive, and I'm having a bit of a time wrapping my brain around Birdseye imagery on a 1.4" touchscreen.

 

That said, it will be interesting to see what the 3rd party folks come up with for apps using the ConnectIQ system. It would be great if someone could come up with something really compelling and not just the same old stuff.

Link to comment

Really? I have an Etrex 20 and a Montana, both seem to work perfectly. Maybe you don't consider them 'recent'.

 

Errrrr... A long list with Montana commom issues. Some issues are common across different models, most likely due to shared codebase.

 

The category far from mature, unless they mean that they haven't got anything new they can introduce. Well if that is the case, then they should fix all oustanding bugs.

Link to comment

As good as the Montana is, it IS a bit old and it has, in some parts of the world 'freezing problems' of the mapscreen.

Often we don't realize it but many issues are not solved and after years of complaining to Garmin (often without even an answer)

people stop complaining and take it as it is.

 

http://garminmontanagpsr.wikispaces.com/Common+Issues

 

So yes, the firmware of some outdoor models certainly isn't mature indeed and I suspect that many unit ended up as a paperweight or in a drawer.

Edited by splashy
Link to comment

 

A terrifying prospect for people like me who rely on and prefer Garmins dedicated units. Maybe I'm just reading a bit too much into the text.

 

I agree. I was perfectly satisfied with the Magellan Platinum ( I own over a dozen Meridians ) but bought a 60 CSx to try and later an Oregon 450 for paperless features. I then wanted to try a 62S and liked it so much I got two more and would be happy if these were the last units I buy. The point is, dedicated users will still be there but there is not much incentive to buy a newer unit just for a couple of bells and whistles that I really don't need. Then there is the 1 1/2-2 year curve on Garmin getting the firmware right on new units.

Then there are smart phones getting better all the time......I guess we should be worried.

Link to comment

@sussamb

 

Different use models expose different bugs. That's why a good beta test (does Garmin actually still beta handhelds?) incorporates a wide variety of users and use models. The fact that you do not see particular bugs is no indication that they do not exist, only that the way you are using the unit may not expose them.

Link to comment

I was hoping for more of a discussion geared towards the quarter report and the implications within regarding Garmin products and the handheld GPS market as a whole.

 

Yes yes, we all know there are still firmware issues. I knew with the word "maturity" in the OP, and that term being synonymous with firmware, that we might end up talking about firmware.

Edited by yogazoo
Link to comment

Thanks for posting this and the heads up! I think we all agree that smartphones are taking a big chunk out of recreational GPS sales. B) This seems to back that up. Reminds me of how cell phones have essentially obliterated the point & shoot camera market. Smartphones have basically gotten "good enough" for most people's uses.

 

Caveat: I'm not a CEO, and I don't have an MBA. But my feeling is that Garmin is going to need (no, has) to scale back on the sheer number of different devices they have, and pour R&D money into innovating for a select few products. For example, instead of ten or twenty dedicated GPS models in their "On the Trail" line, perhaps have only a handful. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel, get rid of Opencaching, leave the map offerings to someone else, and make sure firmware is solid. Oh, and... innovate, innovate, innovate. Did I mention that yet? LOL

 

As cachers, we occupy a pretty specialized niche market. I'd like to see increased cooperation and support between GC and Garmin. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if someone at Garmin has floated the idea of just buying Groundspeak outright. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! :ph34r:

Edited by Pacific NW
Link to comment

I was hoping for more of a discussion geared towards the quarter report and the implications within regarding Garmin products and the handheld GPS market as a whole.

 

I slightly touched that inmy response, but it might have gone amiss. Maturity in products, aka, we don'tknow what new features to bring. Their handhelds with touchscreen have reached the same maturity as smartphones. The only thing they could do is to make a device which allows plugins which add geocaching tools but with a long battery life. Yes, there is the Monterra which does all that, but it runs on Android. A custom operating system like they have now, is better as they can precisely write it for the used hardware, and they should just open it up to plugins. And once that is done, the next level of maturity will arrive.Well, that is what i would like to see :)

Link to comment

I am interested to see what Garmin's threatened new product offerings are for 2015.

 

I've had Garmin's for 15 years or so both handheld and auto.

 

Briefly, my current auto device is a NUVI 3500 series. This is infinitely better than my Range Rover built-in unit.

I always use the Garmin as it is more flexible accurate and predictable

 

On handhelds I have worked my way latterly through the 60 series to my present 64S. I find this accurate, flexible and does a good job to get me to GC's.

 

That said, I think that Garmin are falling behind the times both in the extent and pace of their innovation.

The 60 series is over four years old.

 

My main bone of contention is the difficulty of getting data in and out of the devices.

PQ's have to be downloaded ,absorbed into third-party software converted etc and then 'usb'd' onto the device. It is similar in my experience to get data off..

 

Looking at other non-specialist devices on the market, I cite my iPhone 6 which does almost as good a job as the Garmin,but not quite so accurately.

look also at the Apple and android market in terms of speed of development and innovation.

In four years my iPhone has gone from version 3, four, five and now six. Technological change and innovation and improve customer experiences come with that.

Imo Garmin has progressed but not as fast and as well as it could them.

 

I use the GC App for most of my downloading and logging, as well as geosphere. (In many respects this is better than the GC app but less flexible..

 

Garmin has got base camp to talk to the 64s but that only transfers limited data from the PQ "wirelessly". Only limited waypoint information is transferred

 

I think the quality of screen display on the 64s is dire.

I have UK ordnance survey and Garmin French topo maps on my PC and phone. The images are clear and accurate, not so on the 64s

a comparison is almost the difference between 405 and 625 lines on a TV screen of olden times

 

 

I'm experimenting with Birds Eye. I recently went to St Kitts and Nevis and downloaded the Birds Eye images, akin to Google earth.

I had loaded OSM maps but whilst there are all the roads and some tracks I was going into real off-road territory.

The Birdseye images helped but they were a bit fuzzy

I also copied the same images to my phone via Google Earth, for off-line use. Much better clarity and of course with the GPS function on nearly as accurate.

 

Although my experience is Apple, I'm sure that android developments and improvements are just as pacey.

 

I'm not sure whether Garmin are still at odds with geocaching.com. If so it can do neither sector any good and I would think that Garmin, handheld division would surely see the geocaching fraternity as one of their big customers and lobby groups.

If they haven't made up, then time to do so!

 

I have to confess not to be a fan of the Montana/Oregon devices. I feel that in the open air touchscreen devices are second-best.

I also find them a bit bricky!

That said my iPhone 6 works okay as long as it is not damaged, a real risk down a rocky ravine.

 

My requests to Garmin for the future for their products therefore include

 

1 decent high definition screens

2. the ability to get data much more easily in and out of their devices including the ability to work across operating systems such as android, Apple and Windows

3. the need to bring to the customer more quickly their own innovations on device working as well as offering improvements seen elsewhere on competitor devices and applications.

 

I'm not sure if anybody agrees with me but that is how I see it

 

Mike

Link to comment

Garmin didn't want to learn, every outdoor unit had/has major issues and many real problems every time again.

With over 400!!!! models you would think they know by now.

 

Swapping the unit for a new one seems nice, but after 5-6 swaps you really lose the confidence in the product.

The helpdesk is not helping, IF they respond most of the time it's a useless answer.

 

The screen is outdated as is the software and actually also the casing.

If I look at Iphone and Android Nav apps it's good working and looks nice.

 

Prices for the latest models are high (wearables are often ridicules high prices) why should many people buy a outdoor gps if many just use it near the car in urban environment.

For most anti phone gps usage arguments is a solution found, it's not as good as a Garmin but it's there..

 

Yes, I still love my Garmin outdoors, I use Garmin from GPS75 (1993), but I will never buy a new outdoor model anymore the moment it gets on the market acting as a Beta tester without proper support and response from Garmin, just hoping and waiting for the next firmware update.

Link to comment

My main bone of contention is the difficulty of getting data in and out of the devices.

PQ's have to be downloaded ,absorbed into third-party software converted etc and then 'usb'd' onto the device. It is similar in my experience to get data off..

 

I'd agree with this 110%. :rolleyes:

 

The easier Garmin makes it to exchange data, the better and more desirable their product will be.

 

We are in the era of Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, etc. The technology is all around us. The data transfer between an iPhone and the 64S & 64ST over Bluetooth is a nice touch, but clunky. They need to further interface with GC, and at least allow pocket queries to be directly transferred over to the GPS wirelessly. Same goes for directly deleting GPX files already on the device, sans computer.

Link to comment

My main bone of contention is the difficulty of getting data in and out of the devices.

PQ's have to be downloaded ,absorbed into third-party software converted etc and then 'usb'd' onto the device. It is similar in my experience to get data off..

 

I'd agree with this 110%. :rolleyes:

 

The easier Garmin makes it to exchange data, the better and more desirable their product will be.

 

This may have to do with Garmin having their own geocaching site, so they wouldn't be particularly interested in doing this.

Link to comment

This may have to do with Garmin having their own geocaching site, so they wouldn't be particularly interested in doing this.

I have no idea why they persist with this. I can't believe management continues to pay the electric bill to keep the server running. It's a silly way to show that your knickers are in a twist.

 

In the Denver metro area (and I'm being very generous in that description - Castle Rock to Longmont), Garmin's site shows 45 caches. OTOH, the gc.com count is probably more on the order of 15,000~20,000.

Link to comment

I started out with a GPS III, then joined Geocaching here, then went on to buy GPS IIIplus, GPS V, Etrex Vista, and Meridian Platium. Really like the Platinum, because it was so accurate, to get to the cache. Had more GPS unts after that, like the 60 series. I do like the Montana, for being able to plug into my battery bricks to charge up, then unplug for next cache.

 

GPS units pretty much get turned on, then in my carry case, and used only for tracking on the trail, and I use the iPhone with Google satellite imagery to zero in on the spot. I bought an eTrex Vista back in 2011, just for a flight from Michigan to Hawaii trip (9 days), and the eTrex, I would turn it on while at the window seat, then put it on sort of a blank page, like the route screen, with no routes, or any Goto's, then place into canvas carry case. I would then, place it on the armrest against the bottom of the window, never to be touched until I get to the next gate. So the GPS units I have, are just for collecting tracklogs now, and the iPhone takes over for much. I have used both iPad and iPhone while on cache hunts.

 

I find that like PC's where we still are on Intel i7's, technology has stagnated. Also the phone basically has cut the cable for me. No having to plug a GPS unit in to a desktop anymore, except only to download tracklogs once in a while. I do miss when Mapsource was front and center.

 

Another reason for me getting away from using GPS units out of their carry cases, is that I have gotten into trouble with GPS units, walking around with them in my hand. So I have lost interest in them. I used to watch the GPS screens on occation during hikes, now they stay in the carry cases.

Link to comment

My main bone of contention is the difficulty of getting data in and out of the devices.

PQ's have to be downloaded ,absorbed into third-party software converted etc and then 'usb'd' onto the device. It is similar in my experience to get data off..

 

I'd agree with this 110%. :rolleyes:

 

The easier Garmin makes it to exchange data, the better and more desirable their product will be.

 

We are in the era of Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, etc. The technology is all around us. The data transfer between an iPhone and the 64S & 64ST over Bluetooth is a nice touch, but clunky. They need to further interface with GC, and at least allow pocket queries to be directly transferred over to the GPS wirelessly. Same goes for directly deleting GPX files already on the device, sans computer.

This is my biggest gripe as well.

 

In addition to using my GPSMAP 62s (and occasionally an eTrex 20), I also use my smartphone.

 

While I do use GSAK for prepping my data to be loaded, my smartphone is loaded "wirelessly".

I run a macro which creates a database in my apps native format, it gets uploaded to Dropbox, and then I import it into the app via WiFi or over an LTE network.

I'm also able to take that database file and simply do a bluetooth transfer from my laptop to my phone.

 

I would love to be able to transfer my cache data wirelessly, whether via bluetooth or a GPS based Wifi hotspot.

If a $130 dashcam can have a wifi hotspot, why can't a $400+ navigation device?

 

Another thing that has always bugged me is being able to load multiple GPX files on a GPS, but not being able to select WHICH GPX file you would like to use.

I believe one of the other GPS vendors has offered that for quite some time.

Link to comment

This may have to do with Garmin having their own geocaching site, so they wouldn't be particularly interested in doing this.

I have no idea why they persist with this. I can't believe management continues to pay the electric bill to keep the server running. It's a silly way to show that your knickers are in a twist.

 

In the Denver metro area (and I'm being very generous in that description - Castle Rock to Longmont), Garmin's site shows 45 caches. OTOH, the gc.com count is probably more on the order of 15,000~20,000.

Similar here in Indianapolis. 36 in the metro area (the loop of I-465 that goes around Indy) on that site (as well as a few cross listed) and a few thousand on this site. I don't understand the stubbornness that they have by keeping this going. It makes no sense to me.

Link to comment

Ok, I'm going to prognosticate a bit here on what new Garmin's might be coming to market this summer. This prediction is based on aging yet popular models according to Amazon rankings.

 

1) Montana line. The Montana is still among handhelds best sellers despite being on the market for nearly 4 years. It needs a GPS/Glonass update as well as a glove-friendly capacitive screen, better camera quality and the ability to take video.

 

2) Foretrex line: this GPS is actually #1 in Amazon sales in the handheld GPS category. It could use a color screen, Glonass support, fitness tracking enhancements, better battery life, and a touchscreen update. It should definitely keep the user replaceable batteries (unlike the GPS watches like the fenix and tactix and even the epix). I love the idea of the foretrex wrist-top GPS unit and would buy an upgraded model in a heartbeat.

 

Other than these two I just can't think of any other Garmin handheld product line that needs updated hardware at the moment except perhaps the eTrex.

Link to comment

I expected an update about 1 year ago.

Due to Monterra/ Oregon 6XX issues to solve, they lost a lot of time I think.

 

Maybe Garmin got wise and FIRST does some testing with a new outdoor model, that saves them a 3 or 4 times unit switch of the first series.

If they mess up the next time they launch an outdoor model they might as well stop making them, because big part is taken by cellphones

only the Garmin outdoor lover is still buying them, but that love fades away.

I really doubt that many insiders will buy the new model 'blind' like we preordered before, without knowing what issues the new model has.

 

My Montana (sold 6 months ago) still had issues, my Oregon 600 is ok, but has issues, I mean I lost the

confidence in the product, they switch a new faulty unit as many times as needed, but that's no guarantee for a good working product in the end

we know by now.

Only if I know for sure the new model works as it should, without all kind or idiot issues, I will buy one and I'm not alone I suppose.

 

Ability to make video? Only if it's good quality, picture quality on the current Montana

is not that good.

Link to comment

I think the Monterra WAS the Montana update but it's ability to interface properly with the Android OS caused more issues than they anticipated (and still haven't fixed well enough). I still find my Montana to be a well-functioning unit and even with Glonass compatibility, a better camera and a better video, I wouldn't really see any need to buy a new unit just for those. I can use my phone for two of those functions.

Link to comment

Other than these two I just can't think of any other Garmin handheld product line that needs updated hardware at the moment except perhaps the eTrex.

Other than the fact that I should have bought an eTrex 30 instead of the 20, IF the eTrex series had a more powerful CPU, I don't believe I would have bought a GPSMAP 62s.

 

The issues I had with the eTrex 20 were resolved with the 62s, but I do miss the additional accuracy that was provided by GLONASS on my eTrex 20. Sometimes I end up carrying them both.

Link to comment

Other than these two I just can't think of any other Garmin handheld product line that needs updated hardware at the moment except perhaps the eTrex.

Other than the fact that I should have bought an eTrex 30 instead of the 20, IF the eTrex series had a more powerful CPU, I don't believe I would have bought a GPSMAP 62s.

 

The issues I had with the eTrex 20 were resolved with the 62s, but I do miss the additional accuracy that was provided by GLONASS on my eTrex 20. Sometimes I end up carrying them both.

Best of both worlds is the 64s. I upgraded from the 30 primarily looking for the faster CPU. Couldn't be happier with that choice.

Link to comment

I'm positive the new eTrex models will come with a faster processor. Slow map draws were among the biggest complaints of the previous model which came with a first generation, slow, glonass/GPS, processor. Garmin normally doesn't list processor types in spec sheets but you can bet they've upgraded processors.

Link to comment

Coming from the older 20 & 30 models, the unit firmware should be turn-key without many of the bugs associated with new releases. One of the reasons for the smooth-ish 64 release was that it was built off of the 62 software.

There is already a 20x/30x WebUpdater firmware release available for download.

 

It's version 2.00. Last version I loaded onto my 20 was 4.20.

Link to comment

Coming from the older 20 & 30 models, the unit firmware should be turn-key without many of the bugs associated with new releases. One of the reasons for the smooth-ish 64 release was that it was built off of the 62 software.

There is already a 20x/30x WebUpdater firmware release available for download.

 

It's version 2.00. Last version I loaded onto my 20 was 4.20.

 

Not to mean it will use the same firmware as the soon-to-be older models. Rather quite likely most of the same code plus some additions and/or changes hence Garmin will restart the version numbers associated with the "x" models.

 

It will be interesting, provided I choose to early-adopt, to compare track logs and data with not only the previous model but other handhelds as well.

Edited by yogazoo
Link to comment

Yep, larger memory and apparently a better screen (76800 pixels versus 38720 so basically double).

Hmm... The GPS unit I'm using has 27 times as many pixels as this new Garmin (a bit over 2 million).

 

But then, it's a phone. And the display, with a good map and some cache icons sprinkled here and there, is a thing of beauty.

Link to comment

Curious about the battery life. In my experience, battery life is inversely proportional to screen resolution. Pushing pixels is the single biggest battery drain. Hence the battery save mode turns off the display.

 

You're right about screen resolutions effect on battery life. I'm hoping/guessing the increased drain from the resolution will be compensated by updated component efficiencies elsewhere. My biggest concern regarding the screen will be the reflectivity of the smaller pixels. Along with increased pixel density usually comes reduced readability in direct and indirect sunlight. Again, this might be compensated with technological advancements in LCD screens making smaller pixels more reflective/readable in various lighting situations.

 

I'm excited to see the new eTrex line.

Link to comment

Yep, larger memory and apparently a better screen (76800 pixels versus 38720 so basically double).

Hmm... The GPS unit I'm using has 27 times as many pixels as this new Garmin (a bit over 2 million).

 

But then, it's a phone. And the display, with a good map and some cache icons sprinkled here and there, is a thing of beauty.

 

You're probably comparing apples to oranges here. Pixel count cannot be directly compared unless the screens are the same size. You need to calculate the pixels per inch to have a direct comparison. Even still, your smartphone likely has more pixels even after converting to pixels per inch (or centimeters if you don't live in the U.S.)

 

Density and screen size are only half the equation when it comes to screen quality in an outdoor device designed to maximize battery life (minimize backlight use/intensity) and readability (pixel reflectivity). Increased pixel density reduces the reflective surface below the pixel making it less reflective and harder to see without a very bright backlight in many ambient lighting conditions. Garmin has done very well in finding the sweet spot between resolution and readability in their devices.

Edited by yogazoo
Link to comment

Now we can play the speculation game:

 

For example, based on the new specs of the eTrex 20x and 30x, I wonder if the gpsMAP series will get a screen resolution boost, and if the Oregons will get an internal memory capacity boost. I honestly can't imagine the screen resolution on the Oregons getting much better unless it gets an overall screen size increase. Maybe a new Montana in the future?

Link to comment

I think one of the reasons of their decline in sales is their insane price for dedicated devices like the Oregon 6XX, Montera, Montana, etc.

 

The days of spending $400.00, $500.00 for a Gps are gone and people are switching to 'cheaper' (as in smartphones) for their outdoor activities.

 

Garmin needs to step down on their pricing.

I will be more inclined to spend $100-$150 for a new gps unit every year than to spend $500.00 that will make me use the device for several years to recoup the investment.

Link to comment

I think one of the reasons of their decline in sales is their insane price for dedicated devices like the Oregon 6XX, Montera, Montana, etc.

 

The days of spending $400.00, $500.00 for a Gps are gone and people are switching to 'cheaper' (as in smartphones) for their outdoor activities.

 

Garmin needs to step down on their pricing.

I will be more inclined to spend $100-$150 for a new gps unit every year than to spend $500.00 that will make me use the device for several years to recoup the investment.

 

But you don't NEED a new GPS every year. The changes in recent models have been mostly cosmetic, not major changes in functionality. Sure, maps draw faster and you can hold more geocaches than with the previous model, but really you can still navigate the same with a current handheld as you can with one that is 8-10 years old.

Link to comment

Now we can play the speculation game:

 

For example, based on the new specs of the eTrex 20x and 30x, I wonder if the gpsMAP series will get a screen resolution boost, and if the Oregons will get an internal memory capacity boost. I honestly can't imagine the screen resolution on the Oregons getting much better unless it gets an overall screen size increase. Maybe a new Montana in the future?

 

I was kind of hoping the new eTrex 20x and 30x would support Beidou.

Link to comment

I'm positive the new eTrex models will come with a faster processor. Slow map draws were among the biggest complaints of the previous model which came with a first generation, slow, glonass/GPS, processor. Garmin normally doesn't list processor types in spec sheets but you can bet they've upgraded processors.

 

I think it's always been like that. My Garmin 62s is noticeably faster than my Garmin 60CSX.

Link to comment

I think one of the reasons of their decline in sales is their insane price for dedicated devices like the Oregon 6XX, Montera, Montana, etc.

 

The days of spending $400.00, $500.00 for a Gps are gone and people are switching to 'cheaper' (as in smartphones) for their outdoor activities.

 

Garmin needs to step down on their pricing.

I will be more inclined to spend $100-$150 for a new gps unit every year than to spend $500.00 that will make me use the device for several years to recoup the investment.

 

I agree. I see Garmin increasingly being under pressure from its competitors. I definitely don't see myself spending $400-$500 on dedicated GPS anymore now that smartphones are more than good enough for my needs. I suspect it'll be the same with their GPS watches as the Apple Watch and Android Wear catches on with the public.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 3
×
×
  • Create New...