Nike’s unveiled a new GPS watch – the Nike+ SportWatch (press release) for runners, today at CES. It gets launched in the US and UK in April, and other countries soon after.

Currently Garmin has a near-monopoly on sophisticated personal GPS-based watches designed for sports users, with their Forerunner 205/305/405s. They are very popular with orienteers, as being able to record your route means you can graphically see mistakes made, and the different leg speed zones, during a race. Often, at orienteering events, a substantial portion of competitors will be wearing a Garmin Forerunner, so the introduction of a major new player in the field could be very interesting for the sport, and the new competition will hopefully bring prices down for the Garmins too.

The “killer feature” must be the integrated USB socket – no more balancing your GPS watch on a cradle and bringing along a USB cable – you can plug the Nike watch straight into a Mac or PC to download your run data. It also records your heart rate, but “separate heart rate monitor required”.

The GPS element of the Nike watch is powered by Tom Tom, Garmin’s main rivals in the personal GPS space.

Engadget has a hands-on video here.

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1 Comment

  1. Ollie:

    I predict that the USB contacts will corrode nicely when sweaty, as happened to the internal contacts on your Garmin Forerunner 305 and mine…

    As for the ‘killer feature’, Garmin has for some time had wireless download via ANT+ USB stick: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=10997

    The best new feature on the 310XT is probably vibrating alerts – remarkably useful for heart rate limit warnings, auto-lap alerts, etc.

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