Yesterday, Google made an announcement about their Android Wear that sounded an awful lot like the first death knell for GPS running watches from companies like Garmin and the like. Or maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
As you’re probably aware, the Android wearables market has exploded in the last few months as several so-called ‘smartwatches’ have hit the markets to mixed reviews and enthusiastic support. Of the several different smartwatches available, several of them will get an update soon that will turn on their apparently latent GPS capabilities.
So how does that change anything? Well, combined with all of the other features, this watch could track your runs and stats much like any GPS sport running watch available and then sync it to an app and track your stats. All things that current running watches do. But, unlike running watches, these smartwatches also do a ton of other things. Like streaming music, checking your email (not that you’d do that on a run) or texts, maybe even make calls or give audio navigation via headset. So, while their GPS functionality will probably be essentially the same as any running watch available, they will simply do more. And if I know consumers, more is king.
Of course, I am not suggesting that your GPS watch is outdated or that you should go buy a smartwatch today. I expect it would be a few years before the smartwatches have all the kinks worked out and are really as functional as many GPS running watches today. And several more years before they’re cheap enough to be common items. But I think it’s going to happen.
But then again, maybe not. Perhaps the smartwatches will be plagued with limitations that make them simply not as good at GPS navigation and tracking. Perhaps GPS watches will hold their own in much the same way as dedicated GPS units have in their fight against smartphones.
What do you think? Would you change out your running watch for a smartwatch if it could perform the same, plus additional tasks?