Dutch company TomTom, best known for its personal navigation devices, has released two sports watches in South Africa as it seeks to offset the decline in sales of GPS devices prompted by smartphone adoption. Both devices’ unique selling point is their ability to measure a user’s heart rate – something that usually requires a dedicated heart-rate monitor, more often than not strapped to the user’s chest.
The first watch, called the TomTom Runner, includes GPS tracking for road running as well as a setting for treadmill workouts. The second, The TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio, is aimed at those who run, cycle, swim or engage in any other sporting activities and comes in a range of differing packages, which include things like cadence sensors and bicycle mounts.
Both devices include GPS functionality for tracking routes, and both offer the ability to monitor heart rate, making it easier to ensure training sessions are as effective as possible and allowing users to track their fitness over time.
TomTom’s general manager for Southern Africa, Daan Henderickx, says TomTom “…has always been about getting people from A to B. It’s still about that, but now neither A nor B will be confined to coordinates. A is where you are, and B is where you want to be. It’s about the progress towards goals”.
Henderickx says TomTom’s first foray into the wearable technology market came from a partnership with sports apparel company Nike and that the experience prompted TomTom to look more seriously at the sports device market.
“The launch with Nike was the first of a wide range of products we’ll be bringing to market,” he says. “We want to bring products to the market that make a difference to people in trying to reach their goals.” To this end, TomTom’s new slogan is “The easiest way to improve”.
Both of the new devices include various settings for different intensity workouts, from gentle Sunday strolls to intensive hill runs and sprints. Users can use previously recorded training sessions or races as benchmarks for future workouts, with the device prompting them when they fall behind their target pace. “This means you can, effectively, race yourself,” Henderickx explains.
The TomTom Mysports app integrates with various popular fitness tracking apps and allows users to sync data from their watches to their smartphones and upload it to TomTom’s online portal.
All of the new devices are available in various colours and come with replaceable straps. The TomTom Runner Cardio retails for R3 799, while the Multi-Sport range starts at R4 599 and goes up to R5 599.