Thursday, April 2, 2009

Garmin Loves Triathlon!!! Forerunner 310XT (finally) debuts

I've gotten to hang out with Garmin marketing man Jake Jacobson for the last few years at a bunch of the key events, from Sea Otter to the Tour de France. If you check out the Garmin.com blogs, Jake is the man behind them (and face on 'em). Every time we saw one another, I would ask him the same thing: "When will you cats make a Forerunner that is Mac-compatible, and when will you make one that's watertight for swimming?"

His polite reply: "I hear ya—we're working on it." Every time he saw me, he'd smile and roll his eyes, because he knew my first questions. We both knew some hearty souls would take their Forerunner 405, stick it in a Ziploc bag , shove it under the swim cap and race their entire Ironman with it—it would come out with some awesome tracking, revealing just how crooked some of us actually swim. Change it from run pace to bike pace in T1, then back to run pace at T2. Voila, a full race, GPS tracked.

Downside? The units were water resistant, not waterproof. You could race with it, but it's user risk; it dies, it was a warranty-voider, and thus your loss.

So I asked, again and again: When will you have a waterproof Forerunner? And make it Mac-compatible? I am addicted to GPS tracking; I love the wireless data, the integrated power on the bike. And I'm useless now without knowing my pace on the run, especially in a race, knowing whether my perceived effort is honest or fatigued, and when/how much to pick it up if I wanted to hit marked time.

About a month ago, Garmin quietly made their units, from the Forerunner to the Edge 705 (both of which I have been actively testing and absolutely in love with (save for the Forerunner 405's inability to get wet) Mac-compatible. The ONLY reason I have a PC was to run my data to My Garmin Connect page and MotionBased. Now, all it does is store all my music. Half the battle was won, and I was uploading through my MacBook, which I can and am now doing from the road for the first time.

So today, a miracle: this press release confirming that Garmin indeed loves triathletes, and created a product just for them. It does it all; run pacing, bike speed, calorie burn, ANT + compatible (So I can run my PowerTap data through it), 20 hours (20!!!) of battery life that will last an Ironman, wireless data transfer... this thing is going to be Nirvana. I wish I got to test it this weekend as an all-in-one. Instead I'll be patching data from my Edge 705 with my Forerunner 405 after the race at New Orleans this weekend.

Well... maybe I wouldn't want to let the new 310XT be water-devirginized in Lake Pontchartrain. Perhaps I'll wait till I get back to the Pacific.

And it's about time to get an external, dump the music on there, then dump the PC.

And Jake: you don't have to deal with my incessant questioning anymore; I think you've answered about every need from a triathlete.

About time! (And tracking, power, speed, and pace!)

To watch a video of how the 310XT works, click here.

***

Garmin® Gives Fitness a Facelift with Forerunner® 310XT,
the Waterproof Multi-Sport Watch with Longer Battery Life


OLATHE, Kan./April 2, 2009/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced the Forerunner 310XT – the waterproof multi-sport solution in Garmin’s popular line of GPS-enabled fitness devices. Boasting up to 20 hours of battery life and a sleek, comfortable design, the Forerunner 310XT was announced in preparation for world-class marathons in Paris and Boston, where it will be on display at Garmin booths in each location. The Forerunner 310XT will be sold on its own or packaged with a new waterproof, soft-strap heart rate monitor, which will be more comfortable than previous models and is expected to be available during summer 2009.

“The waterproof Forerunner 310XT is the evolution of the iconic Forerunner 305, building off of what users love and introducing key benefits they’ve requested,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “By adding unmatched wireless connectivity, up to 20 hours of battery life and a more comfortable build, Forerunner 310XT will bring Garmin’s leading GPS technology to more athletes and events than ever imagined.”

During and after the workout, Forerunner 310XT blends the best wireless connectivity of all of its predecessors in the Garmin fitness family, syncing wirelessly through ANT+™ technology with Garmin heart rate monitors and foot pods, compatible third-party fitness equipment and power meters, and the user’s PC or Mac for automatic data download.

The swimmable Forerunner 310XT is waterproof to a depth of 50 meters, so you can wear it in the pool or the lake to time your swim. And its slim design, simple interface and flexible wristband mean Forerunner is easy to wear in any conditions. When you're ready to jump out of the water and onto the bike, Forerunner 310XT moves easily from wrist to bike with the optional quick release and bike mounts, making the transition between sports effortless. Forerunner 310XT categorizes multisport activities in one workout and can also log transition time in the process, so you can analyze your performance from start to finish. And the extended battery life – up to 20 hours – means that endurance athletes can push themselves farther than ever.

Positioned around the large, vivid display, intuitive buttons provide a simple interface without sacrificing space on the customizable data screens. And even in the loudest gym or largest crowd, users won’t miss their milestones as Forerunner 310XT’s audible signals and/or vibration alerts tell them when they’ve reached integral parts of their race or workout.

Garmin is also announcing a new waterproof, soft-strap heart rate monitor that is streamlined and more comfortable than ever, yet rugged enough to withstand swimming. Though heart rate data does not transmit while underwater, this new waterproof strap means that triathletes can plan ahead by wearing the strap under a wetsuit, shaving crucial seconds off their transition time. The new soft-strap monitor is expected to be available during summer 2009.

For out-of-water activities, Forerunner 310XT tracks speed, distance and location accurately and effortlessly, and users benefit from the precision of heart rate-based calorie computation. Runners and cyclists can adjust the pace and speed of their Virtual Partner without stopping in the middle of a workout, and the Virtual Partner is always on and ready for a challenge.


The waterproof Forerunner 310XT can be used outdoors or indoors (with an optional, streamlined foot pod that can fit on laces or under certain shoes’ insoles), making it the ultimate year-round, all-weather training tool. And the high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix™ quickly acquires and sustains satellite reception, whether you’re tackling a wooded trail or jogging through the urban canyons of skyscrapers. An optional speed/cadence bike sensor helps cyclists monitor their pedaling ca
dence and wheel speed.

Once the workout is done, the training is far from over. Using ANT+ technology, the Forerunner 310XT sends workout data to the user’s PC or Mac via automatic wireless data transfer. There’s no need to take off the watch or bother with cables as the computer automatically syncs with the Forerunner 310XT once it’s in close proximity. And the data transfer is a two-way street. Runners, joggers, cyclists and hikers can send courses, goals and workouts to their Forerunner 310XT before they begin, and then the data gets sent back to the user’s computer when the workout is over. Athletes can log their workouts, track their totals, set goals, share workouts with coaches, friends and family and participate in an online fitness community at Garmin ConnectSM — Garmin’s online training site.

The wireless features of Fo
rerunner 310XT are enabled by ANT+ personal area network technology. ANT+ is a leading wireless interface protocol enabling ultra low power applications like fitness monitors. ANT+ offers all the benefits of digital wireless communications with much lower power consumption than other wireless protocols.

The Forerunner 310XT is the latest breakthrough from Garmin, which has spent 20 years using technology and innovation to enhance users’ lives, making Garmin a household name in the automotive, aviation, marine, wireless, outdoor and fitness industries. To learn more about the Forerunner 310XT and Garmin’s other products and services, go to www.garmin.com and www.garmin.blogs.com.


4 comments:

Ben said...

Hi Jay,
Did you ever post a review of this after getting some good usage out of it? I read what you wrote on Slowtwitch and this as well and am really curious - I have been dying for waterproofness and to have a unit that is ANT power meter compatible, so if you think it works well that will be great to hear!
Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as well and anxiously awaiting it's arrival. I jumped in and pre-ordered and wondering when it will eventually arrive...

Anonymous said...

Same as above. Really fighting not to pre-order. Any news would help.

lura said...

Thanks for post regarding fitness monitors