Garmin has added yet another GPS fitness watch to its successful outdoor/fitness segment which has consistently shown fast growth and high margins. The Forerunner 110 entry-level device combines the smallest watch form factor yet, ease of use, a lower price point of $250 and …the latest high-sensitivity SiRFstarIV GPS receiver which together with Garmin’s HotFix technology provides quicker GPS fixes and an overall improved experience in challenging environments without compromising the impressive 8 hour battery life.
SiRFstarIV was optimized for a new generation of always-on consumer devices such as MIDs, portable gaming consoles, and cameras with limited power budgets and infrequent mixed indoor / outdoor use. Its revolutionary “Always Aware Architecture” offers continuous location awareness even while in sleep mode. Sophisticated self-assistance techniques compensate for the lack of A-GPS in non-connected devices.
The very fact Garmin mentions which GPS-chipset is used marks a move away from no longer communicating the chipset brand by many vendors, including Garmin. While in the early days of GPS-devices SiRFStarIII was an indispensable “Intel inside” like quality label, many providers had been switching to cheaper chipsets from Asian companies such as MediaTek and Mstar Semiconductor with specification sheets only stating “high-sensitivity GPS-receiver”. It now seems that CSR’s next-generation SiRFstarIV product will again enjoy the high status SiRFstarIII had all but lost. It also shows there is still a market for high end GPS-receivers amidst a trend towards combo chipsets which will inevitablysuffer from sub-optimal GPS-performance due to desgin compromises.