Allen Sports announced a new GPS-cellphone navigation system at Interbike this week that’s a bit perplexing. I mean, the premise is that The Navigator lets you use your cell phone to navigate while on the bike and eliminates the need for a separate GPS device. But hold on – you gotta bring along the Allen Sports GPS pod that transmits position data to your cellphone via bluetooth. Now you have two devices AND you’re using your tiny cell phone screen to look at the map. Huh? How did that eliminate anything except functionality?
As if that isn’t enough, if you happen to ride outside cell phone range (like say, in the mountains) you’re out of luck – no maps, no coverage. Ouch. And at $349 retail it costs more than the top of the line (for the moment) Garmin Edge – and the Allen Sport can’t even track heart rate or cadence!
Trimble has a similar system and I’ve always wondered why you’d go to such lengths to use a cell phone for something it’s not designed to do. The iPod is great at playing music, the Razr is a good cell phone, and the Edge is a capable GPS for biking. Why mess with that?
My advice is that Allen stick to what it knows – building bike racks. Leave the tech to the geeks.