Garmin has apparently already made all their CES announcements. Lets see, we have a new golf GPS, a motorcycle GPS, a tool for high-tech grease monkeys and an app to make your nuvi curse like a sailor. The country’s biggest electronics show and this is all they have? WTF?
Well, actually, that’s a rhetorical question. I have some answers…
Shortening the wait
Almost all GPS manufacturers have shortened the time period between product announcement and retail availability. Why give more info than necessary to your competitors and run the risk of disappointing fans if you can’t meet the timetable? Of course, they have to pitch and give product info to retailers well ahead of the items being stocked, so there’s always the risk of a product page being posted online ahead of announcement. Thank God for that; otherwise, where would GPS bloggers get scoops?
A year for innovation
With mounting pressure from mobile phone navigation apps, I expect more innovation than ever before, especially from Garmin who, for the last few years, has been more of a follower than a leader in terms of innovation. All the more reason to play their cards close.
Trade specific and calendar-centric launches
Garmin has exhibited a trend to roll out less at CES and do more trade specific launches. So perhaps we can expect some nuvifone Android news at Mobile World Congress next month or at CTIA Wireless in March. Backcountry types might even see something come out of this month’s SHOT Show or Outdoor Retailer. Or Garmin may simply wait until closer to spring, which is when you can expect to see more auto units announced. March, April and May are big months for product launches for both the outdoor and auto segments.
One thing I’m pretty sure of; Garmin hasn’t sworn to reduce their product line in an effort to pare down on consumer confusion. Having a multitude of models with mix and match feature sets appears to be working too well for them. But don’t give up on CES. I’m still expecting to hear some interesting news from TomTom, Magellan and maybe even Mio over the next couple of days.