PAPAGO will vie with market veterans like Garmin and Polar Electro in the GPS, dash cam/navigation spaces

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show I met with a company I literally had never heard of before.  But after chatting with them, I believe they could make a splash on the U.S. market, even if challenges remain.

Founded in 2001, PAPAGO! Inc. (TT:3632) spent its first decade on the market selling mapping services and gps-enabled products to the Asian Pacific markets.  Opening offices in Russia, China, Singapore, and Japan PAPAGO! eagerly pushed into new hardware niches.

It debuted a series of in-car dash cams that are seeing high rates of adoption in nations like Russia where everyday driving is a dangerous endeavor due to reckless motorists, aging vehicle fleets, lack of policing, and poorly maintained roads. Ever since it's been championing this emerging product.

PAPAGO cameras
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

But for all its success, PAPAGO! was absent in the world's most lucrative market -- the U.S.  PAPAGO! has eyed the U.S. consumer space eagerly for several years now, and at long last it's ready to take to the U.S. shores in 2014.

Its campaign began late last year with the opening of an office in the upscale Walnut suburb of Los Angeles, Calif.  The company writes:

On December 1, 2013 PAPAGO! Inc opened its’ doors in Walnut, CA after PAPAGO! made the final decision to extend its’ family to the US.  PAPAGO! has hopes to bring to fruition a design that will contain unique functions particular to the US market.  Another goal they intend to reach is widening the market to more categories such as sport watches and action cams, which they already have in development to bring to the US market.

Bringing an affordable car product to the US market with the intentions of making an uncommon electronic device common is the goal of PAPAGO! Inc. They are motivated and prepared to take on this task with enthusiasm and confidence. With high quality products and emerging technology, success is absolutely a great possibility!

In 2014 the Taiwanese OEM is hitting the ground running, launching five of its most popular safety-oriented dash cam products in the U.S., plus a GPS enabled smartwatch.

Turning first to the automotive product, the dash cams to be launched in the U.S. market will range in price from $135 USD to $280 USD. 

GoSafe 110 PAPAGO 110
The PAPAGO GoSafe 110 ($135 USD)

The cameras output video an SDHC card.  All but the most basic (GoSafe 110) model have supplementary safety features that can fill in gaps in in-vehicle safety technologies, if enabled. 

The P3 dash cam not only gives GPS directions and records accidents, it can also warn you if you're drifting off to sleep or drifting out of your lane. [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

For example the camers watches the driver's eyes and if it detects them nodding off it issues stern warnings.  Also, if the driver gets distracted while stopped and the vehicle ahead of them has already left, it reminds them to move ahead.  Last, but not least the premium models include frontal collision warning systems (FCWS) and lane departure warning systems (LDWS).  While the system is unable to apply a corrective technology, like some automakers (such as Ford Motor Comp. (F) have implemented in such cases, it at least tries to alert the driver of the situation.


(Click to enlarge)

Be aware, the system has no kind of encryption. So if you give it to your children they can simply turn it off (which you'll probably figure out).  Also, if you get in a crash and are at fault, you may be legally compelled to provide the footage from the dashcam camera, if the responding officer notices it.
P3 camera
The P1 Pro, P2 Pro, and P3 can be windshield- or dash-mounted.

That said, the camera could prove a valuable tool, particularly for commercial fleets who want to protect their drivers from false accusations.  Both of the more pricey models (the P2 Pro and the P3) also double and GPS navigation systems.

PAPAGO is also leaning on its GPS expertise to release a fresh athletics product, the GoWatch 770, a GPS sportswatch for runners, bikers, and hikers.  The device sports a modest 144x168 pixel screen and is waterproof.  It has a built in heartrate monitor with ANT+ support.  It has 20 days worth of standby battery life, 18 hours worth of run logging time, and 12 hours worth of continuous GPS usage.

Currently retailing for around $180 USD on eBay, Inc.'s (EBAY) seller pages, that's about the same as the basic RCX3 GPS watch from Finland's Polar Electro, one of the better known GPS watches.  The RCX3 retails for $185 USD on, Inc. (AMZN).
GoWatch 770GoWatch

The battery life is identical on the Polar.  The coaching functionalities are a bit different on each -- it's hard to tell who will come out on top.  The Polar RCX3 (for men) weighs in at 42 g (1 and 1/2 oz.) versus 60 g for the GoWatch 770.  Both devices are certified IPX7 water resistant, meaning they can survive shallow swims.

Why do I happen to know so much about the Polar RCX3?  Well I bought one during a Cyber Monday sale.  PAPAGO! offered me an exciting opportunity to put the devices head to head in a review faceoff.  I'll have the results of that in weeks to come.

But for now if you're in the market for a smartwatch, dash cam, or other GPS-driven device keep and eye on PAPAGO!'s product line as it expands its U.S. presence.

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