At the recent Outdoor Retailer show, Rand McNally announced the release of a new handheld GPS device, known as the Foris 850. This product is designed to appeal specifically to the outdoor market, which includes such individuals as hikers, bikers, geocachers, and other open-air enthusiasts.
In order to produce this device, Rand McNally partnered with Falk Outdoor Navigation. This company is experienced in the field and is a leading competitor in the European outdoor market. For this partnership, Rand McNally provided the content while Falk Outdoor furnished the hardware. The device has a 3” touch screen and 8 gigabytes of internal memory, allowing for the storage of 7,000 waypoints. It ships with a bike mount, batteries, and an anti-glare screen protector. Preloaded on the GPS navigation device are contour maps with over 5 million miles of US trails and roadways. The device is also capable of providing turn-by-turn voice navigation on both trails and roads, and it allows users to compare three alternate routes with their elevation profiles.
The Special Features
As if these basic qualities were not sufficient to gender consumers’ interest, the Foris 850 has a number of special capabilities. The TrackNav feature enables users to create “breadcrumb” trails in order to find their way back to a starting point. A capability called Loop Me! allows individuals to enter their preferred time or distance and create a looped trail that meets their specifications. This feature even includes an option to select a flat or hilly route. A built-in barometric altimeter displays accurate elevation and allows the user to determine the amount of elevation change necessary to reach a location. The device’s included maps are drawn from multiple databases including the U.S. National Park Service, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, National Forestry, U.S. National Wildlife Refuge, national hydrographic dataset, and State Parks. The included data also specifies millions of points of interest such as campgrounds, attractions, and recreation areas. For those searching for geocaches, the device is integrated with geocaching.com and so contains all of the website’s hints, descriptions, and logs to aid in their search.
With all of these capabilities, the suggested retail price of $399 seems quite reasonable. The Foris 850 is expected to start shipping to stores in April and will likely quickly move to the forefront of the handheld GPS device market.