Wednesday, June 07, 2006

More and More Devices for Runners has an article about the growing and lucrative market for fitness devices for runners, such as heart rate monitors, GPS distance monitors and converged devices that combine MP3 players or cell phone handsets with some type of distance monitoring.

The article talks about some of the players in the market such as Polar, Suunto, the recently announced Nike+iPod collaboration between Apple (AAPL) and Nike (NKE), and does a nice job profiling Bones in Motion's BiM Active service at Sprint Nextel (S), which turns certain GPS-enabled handsets into personal activity monitoring devices.

The article doesn't do such a good job when discussing Garmin (GRMN) and only writes:

Garmin, a company best known for marine, hiking and road trackers, offers fitness devices with mobile phone-sized heart monitors, which cyclists mount on their handle bars.
I guess the journalist didn't do enough research on Garmin's leading Forerunner line of GPS devices such as the Garmin Forerunner 205. .

The article mentions the "fitness niche is not lost on established mobile phone makers" and says "Nokia (NOK) has announced its 5500 model and Sony Ericsson the W710 Walkman phone. Both can count steps and play music."

Former Gartner analyst Ben Wood at Collins Consulting said, This is going to be a big part of the market. The life style segment is rapidly growing."

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