When opencaching.com was launched I figured it was a way for Garmin to create demand for their GPS receivers. Today’s announcement of iPhone and Android apps for opencaching leave me wondering what Garmin is up to. Gregory over at Toronto Geocaching has posted a first look at the opencaching application. The app looks good but why would Garmin give away a free application on other platforms? Garmin is investing heavily in the opencaching initiative.
So not only do we have competition in the listing space, now there is competition in the software space. More and more people are first being introduced to geocaching via smartphones. Why not get them acquainted with the brand early so that converting them will be easier later.
The idea that you can hide a cache using the app sounds like a good idea but I have my reservations. Ah ha …. now I get it. This is exactly what Garmin wants. Opencaching suffers from a lack of unique caches. Opencaching.com is a useful site but it is overshadowed by Groundspeak’s dominance in the quantity of listings. Garmin might be prepared to forgo some added revenue today in order to create greater value (eg more unique caches) for tomorrow. If Garmin can reduce the friction of getting caches placed that will be good for them long-term.
You know geocaching has gone mainstream when the largest device manufacturer is giving away software and services in order to protect it’s core market.