Hammerhead Karoo Update | June 22, 2017
The latest news and information about Hammerhead Karoo
We’ve received a ton of thoughtful questions and suggestions while out on our rides and over chat, email, social media, and the comments sections of recent press articles. Thank you, and please keep it coming!
Lots to cover, so let’s dive right in.
PRICING & PRE-SALES — While final pricing has yet to be determined, we have been inviting Hammerhead community members (subscribers to our mailing list) to order Karoo at a limited pre-sale price before sales open to the general public. We’re way ahead of our sales goals (thank you!), so be sure to get on the list while this offer lasts.
PACE OF DEVELOPMENT — Karoo’s hardware has been undergoing rigorous pre-production field and laboratory testing for months and so far is performing at or above target. Software is progressing at a similarly rapid pace. For perspective, here is DC Rainmaker’s “First Look” from late April.
And here is BikeRadar’s Ben Delaney discussing his “First Ride” in late May.
Notice the production operating system and UI, Strava integration, cellular connectivity and upgrades to Karoo’s app suite in Ben’s video. We’ve progressed considerably since and be sharing the latest in future updates.
RADAR — We’ve confirmed that Garmin’s Varia Radar products are open for interoperation with Karoo and have added the integration of them to our development roadmap for early 2018.
BATTERY LIFE — In field-testing we are now getting ~10hrs of runtime with the screen on, cellular enabled, GPS on, and sensors paired. One of the many benefits of having built our own Android-based ROM is the complete control it gives us over power management, and we expect a runtime of ~15hrs with cellular off, screen dimmed but still easily visible, and core features running. We could potentially exceed 20hrs in a more aggressively optimized endurance mode.
IN-RIDE CHARGING — While Karoo’s micro USB port is sealed, the connection with an external battery would not be. We thus recommend that in-ride charging be limited to dry conditions. That said, given Karoo’s battery life, we would not recommend riding in the rain long enough for this to present an issue.
WET WEATHER USABILITY — Karoo is IP67 sealed, and our touch algorithm auto-adapts to water droplets and grime. Having recently ridden with Karoo in the rain while wearing gloves and in the heat with sunscreen-tinged sweat dripping off my chin, I can attest that the touchscreen remains usable. That said, there are many circumstances in which physical buttons are preferable, and Karoo’s snappy, staggered buttons allow for one-handed access to in-ride features.
DISPLAY VISIBILITY — Karoo’s high-resolution “transflective” display is exceptionally visible in all conditions, including in the harsh California sun where I ride. Transflective screens allow ambient light to transmit through each pixel and then reflect back to supplement the backlight rather than reflecting off the pixels like a phone screen. The matte finish we’ve applied to the Gorilla Glass panel further reduces glare. It works so well that we are reducing our recommended and lowest backlight settings, which together with updates to our backlight auto-adjustment algorithm will allow us to further extend battery life.
MAP & NAVIGATION — Karoo’s current maps, routing, and navigation already represent a considerable evolution over those of our H1 mobile apps, and this remains an area of rapid development. Regarding the many suggestions of geodata sources and tools we’ve received, our team is evaluating each and every one in our efforts to deliver the best cycling navigation & exploration experience anywhere…period. Additionally, Karoo’s webUI and browser plug-in (for 1-click sync of routes from 3rd party sites) is fully operational and receiving rave reviews from testers. We’ll dedicate a post to this once the current UI update is finished.
CELLULAR DATA — Karoo can cache maps locally, and route files are generally small. Cellular data usage should thus be low, especially if supplemented with WiFi. As for cost, I personally have a second duplicate SIM through T-Mobile’s DIGITS program that shares my phone’s unlimited plan at zero incremental cost. We are currently researching other carriers’ offerings, so please comment if you have useful information in this area.
REMOTE CONTROLS — Bluetooth & ANT+ controls are just peripherals that would pair with Karoo just as they would with any other head unit or mobile device. We plan to support them at some later stage.
APP STORE & 3RD PARTY APPS — We’ve integrated with Strava via their API, have begun testing unique-to-Karoo features, and will soon enable “Live Segments”. We are integrating with TrainingPeaks in much the same way and are in talks with other developers interested in integrating with the platform. Thus far, we’ve found that integrating 3rd-party services with our own apps allows us to achieve the highest levels of integration and usability. That said, we do intend to open an app store once the core experience and platform are built-out.
FORM-FACTOR — Expandable stand-alone platform, all-day battery life, micro form factor: pick 2. We’ve crammed a tremendous amount of computing power, a huge battery, comprehensive connectivity, a generous screen and much else into the smallest usable form-factor we could reliably achieve using today’s technology, and will be updating Karoo with ever-more-advanced software tools that take full advantage of that hardware. Karoo is compatible with standard quarter-turn mounts (like ENVE’s above), and we’re including a Barfly Out-Front Mount place Karoo perfectly in-line with your stem.
TRAINING APP — Our training app is being designed to allow for intuitive on-device workout building, rich graphical data presentation, seamless integration with 3rd-party services, and a set of unique features that take advantage of Karoo’s processing power, connectivity, and high-resolution screen. Below is a sneak peak rendered in our new “stealth” mode.
FEATURE SUGGESTIONS — Karoo’s platform enables all sorts of possibilities, so the question here is generally not one of could we do X, but should we, how, and when. We are constantly re-evaluating our development roadmap and are incorporating community feedback when setting priorities.
TESTING, WARRANTY, & SUPPORT — Karoo has been undergoing rigorous field and laboratory testing for months, we have had two full-time team-members working side-by-side with our suppliers in China for over a year, and our broader team of seasoned designers, engineers, product managers, and production specialists is going to great lengths to ensure that hardware is fully-baked before we ship to the general public. The same is true for software, where we’ve built a bug-reporting app to send logs and descriptions directly to our dev team for rapid deployment of over-the-air fixes. While we will not ship until Karoo is ride-ready, we remain on track to ship the first batch of units in August. As for warranty and support, we view you, dear members of the community, as the lifeblood of our company and continue to refine our support operation and warranty policy to ensure you are properly cared for. You can find the latest at our website, www.hammerhead.io