The Suunto Ambit was announced just a few days ago and is already stirring up the outdoor gear blogosphere. This new watch, slated for sales in March 2012, is going to be a watch like no other. Similar to an ABC Watch, this watch will output altitude, direction, and barometric readings. Unlike most ABC watches, however, the Ambit will include a built-in GPS, accelerometer, heart rate monitoring, and exportable data. Its goal is to bring precise and accurate athletic/sports/outdoor data to the wrist of the wearer. The feature set is, inarguably, extremely impressive. On the other hand, the practicality of such an instrument remains to be proven.
With a battery life of 50 hours (with GPS on), no solar charging, no mention of atomic syncing, and a price tag of ~$600, the practicality and value for this watch may be up for debate within certain markets. In other markets, it might thrive. I suspect that this will become a popular device for runners, bikers, and triathletes, but I fail to see the versatility for backpackers, backcountry trekkers, and serious hikers (which is what it is being marketed for). Regardless, this watch will be a big step in the sports watch industry, and it is clear that Suunto has no problem taking those big strides. Good on ya, Suunto!