We got a sneak peak at the upcoming Hammerhead Karoo at Sea Otter and it’s impressive. Based on the Android OS, it’ll be extremely feature rich, with built-in WiFi and cellular connections to provide real time data and updates without a phone, live mapping of you and your friends, and much more. Like on-bike route creation with options for road, dirt, paths or trail; offline turn-by-turn directions; and advanced location determination using GPS, GLONASS, and cellular triangulation. And to input your route, profile and more, the full color touch screen has a full QWERTY keyboard…
Quick build specs: Gorilla Glass full color touchscreen, IP67-rated dust and waterproofness will withstand being in a downpour), USB micro B charging port, 10-hour battery life, and pleasantly clickable tactile buttons on the side. Weight is 184g, it sticks to any Garmin-compatible mount, and the screen is 640×480 (3.5″ tall) with 229dpi resolution. Hiding inside is a barometric-based altimeter, compass, accelerometer, ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness automatically, and a thermometer.
The head unit is massive, just up to the point of being too big. Kinda like that 80″ flat screen “you” (by which I mean “me”) want, except once it’s in place, it just seems right. Mounted on the test bike we previewed, it’s easily the largest cycling computer we’ve seen, but there’s a lot going on. Thankfully, the interface seems very clean and intuitive. They had profiles set up for a handful of riders on the same device, which suggests you’ll be able to share it across your family if need be…except it’s actually going to be very affordable considering the tech. Somewhere well under the asking price of top-end Garmins.
The connectivity allows you to see real time Strava segments and keep tabs on your ride partners, share ride routes and workouts, and sync it all to the cloud or your favorite service immediately after. It connects with sensors via Bluetooth and ANT+, which means it can piggy back your phone’s data connection if you don’t want to activate the devices’ built-in 3G service. No word on pricing, but expect a minimal monthly subscription to have it work autonomously.
Based on OpenStreetMaps, Karoo stores the entire world’s map on its hard drive, and they’ve tweaked it to be cycling specific. This lets it automatically recalculate your route while riding (and without needing a cell signal), help you find your way home, or seek out a mid-ride snack stop.
Or, import a ride file from any of these: GPX files, Strava, MapmyRide, Ride with GPS, OutdoorActive, Trailforks, GPSTracks.nl, MTBProject, Bikemap.net, or Gpsies. Run them through the Karoo smartphone app and it’ll create a mapped route from it, then provide turn by turn directions. All of which is a far cry from the original Hammerhead H1 that that used a simple light up turn alert to guide you.
Target release date is August 2017, and by end of year they’ll roll out pre-built single workouts and training plans, real time coaching, group riding planning and other features…or quickly build your own workouts directly on the device. And because it’s using a quad-core processor running Android OS, it can be updated and improved over time (they mentioned voice control). They’ve even hinted to us that they’ll open it up to 3rd party app developers.
Interested? Check their website and get on their mailing list. They’ll have an early bird special before it officially launches, but only those on their list will have access.