Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Introduces 2nd Gen GPS Sport Camera


Despite the lukewarm reception and lack of success of Garmin’s first action camera, which debuted last year, Garmin has introduced a second generation this month, this time with better quality cameras and several connectivity capabilities, including GPS. The VIRB X and VIRB XE are both expected to be available sometime this summer.

The VIRB action camera family is part of Garmin’s outdoor segment and is designed with daredevils in mind. With high-quality lenses and speeds, the device is able to record the adventures of users in HD to be shared with friends, family and the Internet. The X and XE support not only GPS but Wifi and Bluetooth so users can overlay videos with various data including GPS positioning, speed, RPM and throttle position. GPS antennas are also used to help synchronize footage from several cameras while editing, and to allow users to locate cameras for easy recovery after adventures are done. 

To me, action cameras seem like something of an odd addition to Garmin’s lineup, really. I sort of questioned it last year, and I find myself surprised that the GPS manufacturer has continued to support the VIRB line, despite the lack of consumer interest last year. Perhaps all is not well in the world of GPS units, as the financial results of the last few quarters have begun to show.

Garmin has announced that it will be releasing the financial results for the first quarter of 2015 at the end of the month, so we’ll have to wait to see if this is an attempt to offset yet more losses in the dedicated GPS department or simply Garmin continuing to innovate and take a gamble on a different market. I’m not quite ready to read too much into it, but it certainly seems a little surprising.

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