Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Garmin for Klutzes!

I have a womderful new gadget, called the Garmin Forerunner 205. For me, this wrist-worn device is a deadly accurate, silent outdoor pedometer, faithfully recording the sum of my daily walks. (It requires line-of-sight to GPS satellites, so when walking indoors I track my step totals instead.)

The Garmin Forerunner and many similar devices are designed to work well for walkers, but their real market is people doing serious exercise. I can spend much more than the device cost to use training and mapping programs on the web. (Without paying extra, I can upload my Garmin data to see maps and analytics of where I've been and what I've done.) Runners and bikers can pay to download challenging courses and share well-designed workouts. I appreciate that Garmin's Marketing department has targeted a highly motivated, highly skilled community with money to spend. But I wish they had the sense to target the "long tail" of potential customers more like me. I would have bought this device years ago if ever I had heard of it. (Thanks to Dick DeBartolo of the Daily GizWIz for bringing it to my attention.)

Now kindly bear in mind that the last time my son and I went to Shea Stadium for a Mets game, it took me fifteen minutes in the dark to find my car. The next time I park in a big outdoors lot, I'll store the car's location in my Garmin. Then later I can simply ask the Garmin to navigate me back to my car! But do you think Garmin advertizes this feature? Oh, of course not.

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