I have just had confirmation that Epson have discontinued the entire RunSense and ProSense ranges of run and triathlon watches
I had assumed that the RunSense range from a few years ago had already been discontinued and that included these models: SF810, SF-710, SF-610…etc. This is reflected by their removal from the Epson website (Source: Epson.co.uk)
Whilst these never seemed to have sold too well in Europe I had a lingering impression that they did OK in Asia.
I have some pleasant, but fading, memories of reviewing the SF-810 in 2015. It was a solid runners’ watch. A proper runners’ watch and did a decent all round job on the hardware front. The supporting data infrastructure is etched into my memory for other reasons (it wasn’t great). Still if you could get data out of their environment all was generally good.
Bring on 2015’s ProSense range. That had the abbreviation ‘PRO’ in the name so it must be good. The range had 2 running watches and 3 triathlon watches. Which, at the time I was impressed by (link to: the5krunner.com)
DCR had a very good early look at the entire range in an ‘everything you want to know post’ (Source: dcrainmaker.com). All looked reasonably good for Epson with the weight of the mighty Japanese behemoth behind the product; what could possibly go wrong?. But the one thing I wanted to know was, “When is third-party sensor support being implemented“. I guess DCR would have liked to have had the answer to that same question too. You can guess the reason why. Yep a $400ish top-end tri watch was being released with ZERO 3rd party sensor support. as far as I know it was never subsequently added. That kinda looked like the market research department might have been on holiday during the prep for that launch.
Nevertheless they looked like ‘proper’ sports watches; perhaps a little on the chunky side but also sporting a very decent battery life.
There was never any European distribution as far as I know with the focus being on North America (presumably Asia too).
The bottom line is that the plug has been pulled. Hopefully this is not too old news.
I’m not entirely sure on everything we can take out from this.
If it were time for a song then….”Another one bites the dust” is the perennial favourite.
If you were going to imagine a newcomer to the sports watch market who wants to take on Garmin in a big way right from the get-go, then you would probably find very few suitable companies who had a chance. Epson would probably have been one that you might have taken a bet on with some half-decent odds.
A tentative conclusion I would draw is that we are unlikely to see any new entrants going for anything other than a niche product as a way to enter the market. I think ‘BRAND’ and ‘BRAND COMPETENCE’ are important factors when trying to crystal ball-gaze. Also bearing in mind that the ‘medium price + medium volume’ business model tends to eventually fail in favour of high price/low volume and low price/high volume models (Apple, Amazfit, Garmin…).
- A company like Amazfit appears to be able to do well at the super low-end of the market. Amazfit have sinced branched upwards with the super impressive (but also partly flawed) Amazfit Stratos, review ed here.
- Wahoo have etched out a nice little segment of the cycling market and must have the resources to take that further if they were so inclined.
- Apple will probably continue with the ‘one product fits all’ strategy. As it continues to iterate and improve, Apple gradually encroaches on more serious sporting, higher-end needs starting with the low hanging fruit. (eg Apple Watch for Triathlon, link to: the5krunner.com plus AppleWatchTriathlete.com)
- WearOS will hopefully get better. Remember that Puma puts some eggs into the WearOS battery recently and, hopefully, the WearOS hardware will take a leap forward in announcements later this year
- Of course Suunto, Polar et al. have their spaces to compete in as they (may) valiantly try to break out from a relatively focussed/segmented position.
I’ll still stick by this…
2018: Peaktastic not Garmintastic – Year Ahead for Sports Tech
Edit: as of 2nd July I have just seen this comment: https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/11/epsons-new-prosense-running-triathlon-gps-watches-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know.html#comment-2864902 but it seems that no-one else read it, even DCR! Nice find @MarioS
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