Epson joins fitness market with world's lightest GPS watch

In the world of electronics, the size of a device directly relates to its ability to pull ahead of the competition -- especially when it comes to fitness-tracking gadgets. The latest and greatest in this field has emerged from the most unexpected of places, with Epson, a company known for its printers and projectors, releasing the world's lightest GPS watch. This timepiece, specifically designed for runners, reportedly offers more accurate readings and better battery life (up to 12 hours on one charge) than competing products from Garmin, with acute data on distance, speed and pace, all due to its newly-designed 13mm-thick module. If sweat is an issue, the water-resistant casing offers protection against a full submersion of up to 50 meters -- you can wipe your brow with a sigh of relief. Pricing and availability on the company's latest concept is still unknown, but you can let your eyes do the jogging as you peruse the press release just past the break.

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Epson Enters Electronic Sporting Goods Market with World's Lightest GPS Running Monitor

–Monitor offers outstanding data accuracy, battery life, comfort, and water resistance–

Seiko Epson Corporation ("Epson," TSE: 6724) has developed the world's lightest*1 GPS-enabled running monitor, which also boasts an extremely thin design. Designed to be worn on the wrist and equipped with long battery life*2, the monitor uses GPS to provide runners with accurate distance, pace and other data. Epson plans to release a commercial version of the monitor in Japan in 2012 as the company's first entry in the electronic sporting goods market.

Demand for running equipment has soared along with an escalating number of distance runners and races in Japan, Europe, America, and other developed economies. Looking to serve this demand, Epson developed a comfortable, unobtrusive GPS running monitor that provides long battery life, accurate running data, and excellent water resistance, ensuring maximum appeal to weekend joggers and serious racers alike.

Despite its compact size, the monitor has a remarkably accurate built-in GPS module. Strapped to a wrist, the monitor will provide runners with accurate performance data on the fly, including distance, pace, and speed, on any course, so that they can train with maximum effectiveness and enjoyment.

The running monitor can operate for up to 12 hours on a full charge with GPS tracking on - more than enough time for long-distance events, from full marathons to trail runs. The long battery life means the monitor will require less frequent recharging. So, for example, a runner who used it for five hours a week with GPS tracking on would not need to recharge the unit for a full two weeks.

Epson's GPS running monitor is also incredibly lightweight - it tips the scales at no more than 50 grams, making it the world's lightest GPS-enabled running monitor. And, despite the built-in GPS module, it is a sport wristwatch-like 13 mm thick. A comfortable and flexible strap will make runners forget they have it on.

Impressive water resistance will offer added peace of mind. Ordinary GPS running watches are rated to meet the IPX7 immersion protection standard, which means they can be fully submerged in water no deeper than one meter for a maximum of 30 minutes. Epson's running monitor, however, is water resistant up to 5 bars, or 50 meters of water. This level of protection means users can safely use the monitor not only in a downpour but even while showering or swimming.

To develop a thin, lightweight GPS running monitor capable of accurately measuring running data for a long period of time on a single charge, Epson drew on its extensive experience and technology in semiconductors and quartz sensing technology to develop a compact, new, high-accuracy, low-power GPS module.

Moving forward, Epson is looking to help people enjoy healthier, fuller lives by using its technologies and skills in sensing, low power, and device downsizing to provide wrist-wearable devices and web-based services for the growing electronic sporting goods and healthcare equipment markets.

*1: The lightest wrist-wearable GPS running monitor as of February 21, 2012, according to Epson research
*2: Battery life is defined as the length of time the monitor is able to continuously measure distance in training mode (i.e., with the GPS function on) on a full charge.