Separating product timeline fact from fantasy: Interbike Edition

Now that some of the hype has died down a bit from Interbike, it’s time to take a look at what exactly all these vendors have promised…and which ones might actually meet their promises.

But as is always the case, it’s sometimes tough to discern whether or not the products being shown actually have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it to market on their stated timelines.  For example, virtually all public held companies include a variation of the following at the end of almost all of their press releases and statements:

“This release includes forward-looking statements regarding The Company and its business. All statements regarding the company’s future product introductions are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations. The forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this release may not occur and actual results could differ materially as a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting The Company, including, but not limited to, the risk factors listed…”

In reality, these statements should probably read:

“Our previous statements sounded great from a marketing standpoint…but really, let’s be just be honest for a second – we (as in The Royal We) don’t have a the slightest clue whether or not the engineers are actually telling the program management folks the truth about those ‘last few bugs’.  Nor do we know if manufacturing in China even has the parts coming from Taiwan.  Let alone whether or not the support organization is ramped up…and we haven’t even talked about the retail channel.  Thus, you’ll surely understand that we don’t at all expect you to hold us to it!  Love, your friends, The Company.”

So, I took a quick look at all the products that I talked to over the past few weeks at Interbike and put together this handy little chart.  As I’ll explain after the chart, these are all based on my own opinions (and occasionally a bit of industry information).  It’s also based on my familiarity with the software/consumer devices industry and get to market process.

Because I’m sure ya’ll just want the info and not a bunch of rambling – here’s the quick table of all the products and where I think they stand (sorted by my prediction date):

Product Name/Detailed Info

Company Provided Date

Rainmaker Prediction

iBike Dash

Shipping Already

Shipping Already

LeMond Fitness ANT+ Trainer

October 28th, 2010

By Turkey Day 2010

Wahoo Bike Sensor Case

November-December 2010

December 2010

Garmin Edge 800

Was Oct then Nov 2010

December 2010

Tacx Software Suite

Early November 2010

December 2010

Quarq Power Meter App

Beta by December 2010

Beta by December 2010

CompuTrainer RacerMate One

Early December 2010

January 2011

4iiii ANT+ Heads up Display

Early December 2010

January 2011

Pedal Brain

Early December 2010

First Quarter 2011

Timex Global Trainer II

“Next Triathlon Season”

May/June 2011

Joule ‘V2 with GPS’

Unspecified

Spring/Summer 2011

Garmin Vector Power Meter

Unspecified

Summer 2011 > Interbike 2011

Polar/Look Power Meters

Spring 2011

Summer 2011 > Interbike 2011

Brim Brothers Power Meter

Late 2011 > Early 2012

Mid-2012

You may notice that I’m not terribly optimistic that many of these companies will hit their announced or hinted at dates.  Why?

Well, because historically speaking sports technology companies haven’t done such a good job at meeting their timelines.  And that gets even worse when you look at power meter related products (of which many of the above are).  There’s no doubt that getting power meter related items is tough, but there’s also the reality that every single one of the companies I’ve listed above that have had power meters or power meter display products in the past…have missed their initial (or even updated) timelines.

On the software side (CompuTrainer and Tacx) – the story is much the same.  Neither company has credible experience in the ‘getting software product to market on stated timelines’ category, based on past performance.

And finally…last but not least – you may be noticing I’m still lacking one final post from Interbike – the ‘Movmoda Performance Lingerie Review’ by The Girl.  I assure you, that’s still coming.  In fact, they’re supposed to be sending over product samples…but that hasn’t quite happened yet (trust me, I’d be the first to know!).  Thus…no post.  But given their current timeliness with getting a few samples over…I guess I’m going to have to put them in the ‘delayed’ category as well. 

See…delays don’t just happen to technology companies!

(Btw: Minor side note – for those that didn’t catch it, Interbike announced on Tuesday that due to significant feedback they have decided to go back to Las Vegas next year (2011) instead of moving to Anaheim as planned.  Pretty big change 180 degree in direction…)

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