Lowrance launches new line of Outdoor GPS



Lowrance launches new line of Outdoor GPS
Lowrance last week announced Endura, a new range of three outdoor handheld GPS which features a 2.7 inch color touch display, retailing from $230 to $550 that will be available in the United States in May 2009. All products in the range features a Micro SD card slot for up to 32 GB cards and are powered by two AA batteries. These devices are compatible with Geocaching.com and can upload and download tracks via the USB port. The hardware is rather nice looking, a bit larger but thinner than a Garmin Oregon with more or less the same bulk and weight.

The lower end product, called Outback, comes pre-loaded with mapping content including detailed hill shading, topographic contours, primary roads and key Points of Interest (POI). It comes at an affordable $229.99 price. The midrange product (Safari) has the same features, with the addition of an electronic compass and barometric altimeter as well as speaker, headphone jack and microphone to record and listen to voice notes. It will cost $384.99.

Outback, Safari and Sierra
Outback, Safari and Sierra
Sierra, the high-end version of the Endura range has 4GB of internal memory as well as a 3D digital compass and all the other hardware features of the Safari. The pre-loaded content includes Intermap’s AccuTerra topographic maps, extensive outdoor trail networks and Points of Interest, as well as the NAVTEQ road network for the contiguous 48 U.S. states with an upgrade option for full-featured turn-by-turn navigation. It has a suggested retail price of $549.

With this new range, Lowrance upgrades its dusty line of handheld outdoor GPS with real consumer-oriented products. Providing a large color touch display is indeed becoming increasingly important in this market segment because consumers have now experienced phones and PNDs with such features. However, it remains a technological challenge to deliver a small, rugged unit with a large enough screen for touch-operated menus and a decent battery life for an outdoor use.

From a pricing standpoint, Lowrance is obviously hitting the market lower than Garmin who is the dominant player here in terms of market share, brand and distribution.

Monday, January 26th 2009
Alexandre Saltiel


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