GPS dog collars were once a specialty item for hunters. But in the past few years, consumer-friendly versions of GPS collars have been introduced, ranging in price from $129 to $499. These collars are suitable for cats, as well as dogs. GPS collars let you track your pet(s) in real-time, and even set a "geofence" to alert you if your pet strays out of a pre-set range. Read on for my GPS collar overview and for the details on the best brands.
With a profusion of new gearing options, including compact cranksets, single-speeds, and new thinking in mountain bike gearing, bicycle gear calculation is becoming more important. You want enough range for your highest speeds, as well as your slowest and steepest climbing, without any big gaps. What used to be done with awkward paper charts is now built into sleek apps, with the best being Bike Gear Calculator by MatixSoft. This $1.99 app includes a nicely rendered interface that lets you interactively select any gearing combination using simulated slider controls. As you select gears, the app shows you gear inches, gear ratios, speeds, cadences, and more.
Beach season is here, and if surfing is your sport, you may want to try an iPhone app to help you track conditions. Oakley, maker of great sport shades, offers an excellent free app called Surf Report. It includes daily surf reports, surf forecasts, tide charts, and weather conditions for many breaks. The app also taps into Surfline's HD real-time cameras. The app also lets you share a location report on Twitter or Facebook.
Everyone is getting into the wearable fitness device market, and in San Francisco today Samsung revealed its latest entrant (no release date yet) called the Simband wristband. The Simband is to be a slim device that monitors heart rate, blood flow, CO2 and oxygen levels, and potentially blood pressure as well. The wristband will also have the usual steps-taken, calorie-burn, and sleep pattern tracking. The device will sync with a new Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions (SAMI) cloud-based software to provide health insights to individuals and their healthcare professionals. Samsung was no doubt eager to make its announcements ahead of Apple, which is likely to unveil its health and lifestyle devices next week at its Worldwide Developers Conference.
Garmin has long offered a free "Connect" online service that syncs, logs, and analyzes fitness and training data from Garmin sports GPS devices. Garmin has made a bold and ambitious move into new territory with a new "modern" version of Connect. This edition accepts input from Garmin golf GPS devices, as well as Garmin's Vivofit fitness and health wristband, in addition to the usual running and cycling devices. Garmin has also added features that let you compete against your previous efforts, or those of others in the Connect community. Read on for my full review of the new Garmin Connect modern.
If you enjoy remote outdoor activities that take you beyond the cell phone network, and you occasionally go alone, satellite communication is your best bet for staying in touch and for rescue in case of an emergency. DeLorme recently introduced a new model to its InReach line, the Explorer ($379 plus satellite plan), which includes built-in GPS navigation. "In addition to the messaging, tracking and SOS capabilities, users of the inReach Explorer can view, create or navigate routes and waypoints," states DeLorme. "An easy-to-follow map view displays routes, waypoints, tracks and messages geo-located onscreen for backtracking or self-rescue. The built-in digital compass, barometric altimeter and accelerometer sensors ensure accuracy and provide heading and bearing information, accurate elevation readings, speed and other useful trip statistics."
DeLorme has tried to make subscription to the device's satellite communication plan as affordable and flexible as possible. No-contract plans start at $14.95 per month. The InReach Explorer is waterproof and ruggedized, and packs a number of additional backcountry features, including free topo map downloads, two-way satellite text messaging, global satellite SOS, and real-time tracking. Image © DeLorme
Garmin's running and fitness GPS watch line continues to grow with the introduction of the new Forerunner 15 ($169). The Forerunner 15 is Garmin's lowest-priced watch that works with a wireless heart rate monitor strap, and a foot pod, which is useful for measuring indoor treadmill or indoor track workouts. This new watch may also be used to monitor your all-day activity and for counting your steps and calorie burn. All of its data may be uploaded, stored, analyzed, and shared on Garmin's free Connect service. The watch is available in multiple colors, including teal (shown here), violet, black, and red. Image © Garmin
With each passing week, rumors about two new larger screen (4.7 and 5.5 inches) iPhone 6 models, to be announced in September, gain credibility. Leaked phone chassis, cases, and manufacturing details are some of the early signs that have proven accurate with previous iPhone releases. With the addition of these two new screen sizes, Apple will be offering a much smoother continuum of forms, ranging from the 4-inch screen of the iPhone 5S, to the two, larger new iPhone 6 models, then the iPad Mini at 7.9 inches, and the iPad at 9.7 inches. In this article, I explore the possibilities for GPS and location technology in the rumored iPhone 6. I also consider the possibilities for the new iOS 8 operating system for health and fitness apps, as well as the CarPlay iOS for the car. Read on for more.
Last week, Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win the Boston Marathon in 31 years, and he did so while wearing a Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS watch. Keflezighi was sighted late last week at Garmin's headquarters in Olathe, Kansas to help kick off the Land of Oz marathon. Keflezighi met with Garmin's fitness and engineering team, and Garmin promises to reveal more stats and details about how he uses his GPS watch to race and train. Garmin hasn't published Keflezighi's marathon stats and track (yet), but I'll share the link if it becomes available. Image © Garmin
I didn't see this one coming. The fabled surf gear company, Rip Curl, will soon release a new Surf GPS watch. The watch will record and store where you have surfed - your surf "track" - as well as top speed, distance and a count of the number of waves you've ridden. You can then sync your sessions to the Rip Curl app or website, then social-share them, including graphs and charts. The watch is ruggedized and waterproof, naturally. No word yet on specific release date or price, but you can sign up for the notification list at Rip Curl. Image © Rip Curl