Garmin just announced its Forerunner 50, slimming down its form factor to more like a watch, but losing GPS in the process. All is not lost, though, because there's a motion-activated foot pod sensor you can put in your shoe that will record your mileage and speed. Let's hope it's more accurate than Apple's badly flawed Nike+ iPod system which can't tell the difference between two miles and four.
AU: Geez, something's pissed Charlie off! Just wanted to say I've had nothing but love from my Nike+ iPod system. Very accurate. Maybe Charlie's experience is only through those dodgy shoelace mounts...
There's also a heart rate monitor that looks exactly the same as the one in Garmin's superb Forerunner 305 GPS-based sports watch. The Forerunner 50's heart rate, mileage and speed data can be uploaded to your PC via the Garmin USB ANT Stick, using a low-power wireless protocol called ANT+Sport, the same used in the Nike+ iPod.
The coolness continues when that data is sent up to Garmin's online training site, letting you keep track of each workout and share with your friends and competitors. Sounds a whole lot like Nike's idea, but let's just hope it works a little better.
The entire package with the watch, USB receiver, foot pod and heart rate monitor will be available in October for $199. But for now, we'll stick with our Forerunner 305, which you can find on sale for not much more than that. [Garmin]