The Garmin iQue 3600 brought a lot of hope and excitment to the PDA world last year. Sadly Garmin has been unable to deliver on what used to be a Palm PDA with great specs and integrated GPS.
Garmin was the first to do a few things. One, they were the first Palm OS licensee to announce a PDA with more than 16MB of RAM. Two, they were the first to integrate GPS into a PDA. Third, they were the first to use Palm’s standard connector. Unfortunately the release of the iQue has been delayed over and over again due to production issues.
Garmin is in an interesting position in that they manufacture the entire device themselves. While virtually every other PDA manufacturer outsources, Garmin thought it better to bring production in house to maintain standards of quality. While great in principle, I don’t think they had any idea what they were getting in to.
In January when I first used this PDA, I thought it was excellent. But seven months later, the specs are not impressive, making the GPS the sole differentiating factor. While Garmin will sell a few of these units, sales will come nowhere close to what they could have been if this unit came out in the first quarter of this year. I just don’t think buyers will shell out $500+ to have integrated GPS. I hope I’m wrong.
Why? Because I want Garmin to do well. I want them to release the iQue 3700, whatever that is. I want to see more innovation. I want my PDA to do more. In this case I think the project got away from Garmin, but hopefully there will be enough demand to support future growth, which I’m told likely won’t be for a year or more. That’s good and bad, but at least you don’t have to worry about Garmin putting out units at a Clie-esque pace.
Big retailers will not have the iQue 3600 for a little while. Garmin wanted to take care of their more traditional outlets first, so check your local stores that sell the rest of Garmin’s line. You can also pre-order online for delivery in late Auguest, early September. The best deal right now appears to be $479 at Buy.com (item #010-00264-00).