Here is another example of how single-purpose devices are being co-opted by Apple’s general purpose devices. I am a weekend-warrior (i.e. prosumer) who bikes and runs for enjoyment, and competes occasionally in triathlons. Put simply, I am exactly the kind of market Polar needs to capture to remain viable. A few years back I spent $300+ on a Polar watch that provided fancy heart-rate monitoring and motion sensors to capture my running rate. Put that same purchase decision in front of me today and there is no way I would buy the Polar watch again; instead I would buy the iPod Nano. It supports all of the capabilities on my Polar watch that I actually used. Not a good day for a Polar Product Manager when a single purpose device like the Polar cannot do its single task better then a general purpose device like the iPod Nano.
iPod Nano | $199
- Music/video player
- FM receiver
- Video camera
- Heart-rate monitor (coming soon)
- On device training tools (i.e. graphs and charts)
- Online training communities
Polar FT80 | $349
- Heart-rate monitor
- GPS (in my own personal experience 50% of connections time-out)
- On device training tools
- Online training tools (very poor links and even worse communities)
I see two choices for Polar:
- Go Exclusively Professional:
- Sell to professional athletes and most shut down their prosumer “weekend warrior” business which requires significant investment in marketing and distribution. Frankly, this is a tiny market — you are basically selling to college and pro athletes.
- Embrace and extend general purpose devices
- Build add-on devices like a heart-rate sensor for the iPod Nano.
- Polar is a brand I trust in this space and I would be willing to spend $40 on a Polar heart-rate sensor.